Namo literally means “to take refuge,” and comes from the Sanskrit word namas. What are we bowing to when we say “Namo Amida Butsu?” We are bowing to Amida Buddha, where Amida Buddha is not a being, a deity, or a historical person. Amida Buddha is a symbol of the contents of enlightenment, great wisdom and great compassion. We bow our head to the truth of enlightenment, saying “Namo Amida Butsu,” and we come to receive that truth of wisdom and compassion into our hearts and minds.