While watching the video’s by Ajahn Sona about the Four Foundations of mindfulness retreat, I came across this video of the morning puja, or chanting. It kind of made me think about the role of this kind of chanting in buddhism, I know the Tibetans do something similar, it was scheduled once a week at the temple I used to visit.
Anyway here is the video of the puja...
It seems kind of ritualistic. At the Tibetan temple you could go and attend, although I never did. It also feels a bit like it is affirmations for the monks doing the chanting.
At the monastery I attend they chant for about 20 mins each morning. Pretty much the same texts as in the video above.
My only criticism is that I think they should chant in English rather than Pali but that's just my opinion.
The Mahāyānika usage is a bit different, and hugely varied by locality, but this is a typical morning pūjā from a Chinese monastery:
1) Incense Gāthā
2) Śūraṅgamadhāraṇī (Chant Praising All Buddhas)
3) Nīlakaṇṭhadhāraṇī (Chant Praising Avalokiteśvara)
4) the Ten Lesser Dhāraṇīs
5) Heart Sūtra
6) Pariṇāmanāgāthā (Transfer of Merits)
9) Bodhisatva Vows
10) Refuge to the Triple Gem
11) Skandadevagāthā (Chant Praising the Deity Wéituó Tiān; a Dharma Protector)
12) Homages to the Elders
I'll see if I can find a recording.
I am the reverse. Prefer non-English. Don't like Pali as it is done too high for me. Head based.
I could not understand a word of this Heart Sutra in English ... mmm ... maybe we each need the right chanting style ...
I found the beginning of that chant very hard to follow as well, @lobster, you are not alone in that. And if it is hard to follow, then what is the point?
It stops us following words, the wordy and the meaningless speak easy ...
Om Mani Peme Hum
(All raise the Rosé in the whine)
I think a lot of the rituals are "rehearsal" for becoming a certain way. Just as athletes who mentally visualize and rehearse their upcoming performance on the field WILL do better out ON the field ... our Buddhist Practices has a lot of rehearsal in it. And this is how we change our subconscious patterns, actually.
I don't think a monk would explain it this way, but I got my degree in Psychology: Learning and Behavior change and I see a lot of modern psychological principles active in our Buddhist Practice. So this is my "take" on it.
At our local centre, the lama/geshe is dedicated to preserving his traditions (he is Tibetan, from the Dalai Lama's monastery) ... so we always do the chants first in Tibetan, and then speak the aloud in English. I think it is important to visualize and dwell on the meaning underneath the words, whenever possible. Although some of the chants are NOT words, but are concepts .. such as Om Mani Padme Hum (so you have to visualize the concepts).