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Thread: Wisdom and Chanting

  1. #1

    Wisdom and Chanting

    Zazen zazen zazen, but is there a place for study and meditating on old texts? Is it meaningful to chant in a dead langauge that you don't understand?

    gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha.

    What does repeating this chant mean to you? (not necessarily literal translation, but how do you find it adds to your practice?).

    I've taken to chanting it in my mind while I run, but not for any particular reason other than I like the sound of it (or at least what I imagine the sound of it to be).




    I took an art class once in high school. I just could NOT draw that damn bicycle. Teacher told me, "Stop looking at the page. Look at the damn bicycle."

  2. #2
    Hello Lordbd,
    thank you for asking. I think there is a place for study, Jundo and Taigu emphasize what has been emphasized since centuries, and this contains zazen, zazen, zazen and study. I dont know if its meaningful to chant in whatever language, I think human beings tend to give meaning to things. When I chant it means this and that, when I sit it means something else. What does it mean to brush teeth ? I dont know, but I brush teeth, and sit, and study and chant at times. I prefer chanting in english as the words sink in and work inside this body and mind, I must admit I not like chanting in Japanese (or any language I dont speak).
    Gassho
    Myoku

  3. #3
    Hello,

    I trust the blessing power of Mantras to connect me with the countless lives of those who followed the path with all their heart and body. This Mantra, through being an expression of the unlimited wisdom of the Lady of unequalled and perfect Insight, the beautiful Prajnaparamita, is giving me the chance to live out and express the pointing finger that is the Prajnaparamita pool of wisdom. A life raft leading home. Without this, there would never have been a Zen lineage.

    Could this be just any other sound? Maybe yes, maybe no. The fact is that this is the sound that has come to us through centuries. It takes us to the cliff and edge of our reasoning. And beyond, and beyond, if we just follow it. Trusting and giving oneself fully to the mystery of being doesn't mean one is falling for just about any superstition. Yet when you experience power, it is there...and since there is no limited and walled off "you" in all of this, you are never responsible alone for connecting to that power. Self power, other power, all collapses in the arms of the Lady.

    Your intellect alone will never cut it.

    Yet my opinions are like old socks, everyone's got them, most of them stink.

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  4. #4
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
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    Going, going beyond
    Arriving, arriving here
    Always becoming
    Breathing, flowing
    No beginning no end
    Ancient of eons
    Fresh right here now
    Gate gate paragate parasamgate

  5. #5
    That is lovely, Nindo. Thank you.

    Last night I chanted mantras with my children for their hamster who we were taking to the vet to be put down today as she had got so sick. Maybe the words meant something and maybe they didn't but it gave us all a chance to express what we were feeling and give voice to emotion.

    Gassho
    Andy

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Nindo View Post
    Going, going beyond
    Arriving, arriving here
    Always becoming
    Breathing, flowing
    No beginning no end
    Ancient of eons
    Fresh right here now
    Gate gate paragate parasamgate
    Beautiful Nindo.

    Gassho
    Shingen
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Nindo View Post
    Going, going beyond
    Arriving, arriving here
    Always becoming
    Breathing, flowing
    No beginning no end
    Ancient of eons
    Fresh right here now
    Gate gate paragate parasamgate
    Wow.

    Gassho
    Shōmon

  8. #8
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    Row, row, row your boat

    Gently down the stream;

    Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,

    Life is but a dream.

    SVAHA!!


    Gassho,
    Edward
    Practice with humility, respect all beings, avoid attachments, give rise to prajña from your own awareness, put an end to delusions - Hui-neng

  9. #9
    I believe that most of our great Chants in the Zen World are meant to be read and understood for the Buddhist perspectives and philosophy they contain ... the Heart Sutra on Emptiness, the Identity of Relative and Absolute on, well, the identity of relativeabsolute! ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...t-Book-is-Here

    ... and then they are to be Chanted by tossing all such ideas away, actually losing the "self" in each as one manifests "Emptiness" and the "Identity of Relative Absolute" in the very selfless action of Chanting and being Chanting.

    There is a time for Just Sitting free of all Study, a time for Study why we are Just Sitting, a time for Sitting again manifesting Why. Zen's famous "A Way Beyond Words and Letters" meant that the monks typically had familiarity with what was written in the old Sutra books before they burned them ... and, most importantly, lived and embodied them. Zazen without some grounding in Buddhist Philosophy, perspectives (and non-perspectives) can be too formless and wander into strange directions and misunderstandings. The point of "A Special Transmission" was not too be a prisoner of words, but neither did it mean just to ignore the Teachings.

    I do try to avoid Dharani and such meant as magic spells. On the other hand, I have no trouble with losing myself (and finding myself) in any catchy tune. I recently wrote something on my personal take on "hocus-pocus" Mantra and such ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...l=1#post105891

    ... and the Heart Sutra Mantra ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...l=1#post101637

    One thing I have heard a lot of here in Korea is chanting in the Chinese-Korean style (I do not speak Korean). I know the text which is being chanted (this is the Diamond Sutra), but also simply flow with the power of the sound ...



    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-15-2013 at 04:58 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    Self power, other power, all collapses in the arms of the Lady.
    Speaking of Scooby-dooby-doo, here is Frank Roshi and Ella scatting a little "Lady is a Tramp" ... also a great tune ...

    Last edited by Jundo; 08-14-2013 at 02:07 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  11. #11
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    I chant a lot in Japanese because that's the way I learned it. One sutra that i find very invigorating is The Lotus which Hans' commentaries are helping immensely toward an understanding.

    gassho,
    gassho, Shokai, still learning the way and knowing nothing
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    Just another itinerant monk; go somewhere else to listen to someone who really knows.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Shokai View Post
    I chant a lot in Japanese because that's the way I learned it. One sutra that i find very invigorating is The Lotus which Hans' commentaries are helping immensely toward an understanding.

    gassho,
    Wow Shokai you are a super fast chanter! I too enjoy chanting in Japanese ... I find sometimes when I chant in English it just sounds like nails on a chalkboard. But really, chanting is beautiful regardless of the language we speak.

    Gassho
    Shingen
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  13. #13
    As far as I know, that is the particular way of fast chanting of the American fellow on the audio ... Nikko Hansen ...

    http://www.qalias.com/view_profile/Nikko/Hansen/853/0/

    I believe, in Japan, the pace would typically be slower. I am not completely sure however.



    An amazing tongue twisting feat, to say the least.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  14. #14
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Shingen; I don't chant that fast but, once in a while I try to keep up with Nikko's group just to limber up. My mind won't work that fast sometimes and its good to break attachment. I also try speed typing games to get my fingers working without thinking (wishing I could play a musical instrument / what am i saying, I can whistle!!!)
    Jundo, I like the version you posted. i can actually hear what they are chanting.

    gassho
    gassho, Shokai, still learning the way and knowing nothing
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    Just another itinerant monk; go somewhere else to listen to someone who really knows.

  15. #15
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Chanting frees the mind. Gives you focus and goes beyond meaning.

    It unifies you with the resonance of the universe and with the countless lives before us that have practiced the dharma.

    At least that's how I see it.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  16. #16
    At first I was really against chanting. I did not understand it, nor did I believe it was necessary. As practicing became more frequent the necessity of chanting became more and more clear. It is now something I look forward to when either sitting alone or doing the weekly/monthly zazenkai

    Gassho,

    James

  17. #17
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    It (chanting) unifies you with the resonance of the universe and with the countless lives before us that have practiced the dharma.
    Wonderful, I see it that way too
    gassho, Shokai, still learning the way and knowing nothing
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    Just another itinerant monk; go somewhere else to listen to someone who really knows.

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