Many often mistake the Amida Buddha as a Deity. This is not true, the Amida Buddha image is the personified representation of the culmination of wisdom and compassion.
In the beginning scrolls and flowers where placed in the Alter. Later came the Amida image.
The Amida imagine is part of religious art culture. Many religions, such as the Catholics have perpetuated culture on a grand scale. Art of many varieties where endowed by the church.
Protestants, mostly have a cross or very plain backing to there alters. Even in some Buddhist sects there are just scrolls or in Won Buddhism, a gold circle. This is the choice of the religious bodies.
Some believe that images in there alters are deities and have magic powers. This is not the case with Amida Buddha. The Buddha is gold to reflect the light of wisdom and compassion.
But in some Buddhist sect, (few encompass Taoism and Confucius) believe in magic, astrology, and fortune telling. In Jodo Shin Shu, there is none of this. In the Tannisho Shinran lamented, even in this time people seek auspicious signs. Nothing has changed since the 1200’s.
Jodo Shin Shu seems mystical because it encompasses the expedient means of Mahayana philosophy.
There are some today that wish to change images, some want a Western Buddha to reflect the European race. This is a very small minority.
In a conversation with a Japanese minister, we agreed that with the growth of Jodo Shin Shu, it would stray from its Japanese centralisms and adapt some traits of its host society.
In My martial Arts class, Korean language and some culture remains, but the class is definitely western. The Federation in Korea can be out of touch with the way things work in many countries. Korean values are not shared.
The Nembutsu is seen as a prayer or magical chant by some. It is really and expression to be born in the Pure Land. It really is benign because it is just an expression of religious desire and devotion.
Some sects believe they have chants that contain magic powers and the
chanter’s wishes come true. This is not the case with the Nembutsu.
Shinran disowned one of his son for teaching a different Nembutsu. The Nembutsu teachings are a expression of Dharmakaya of ompassionate means. That is all.