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Thread: Chanting the Heart Sutra

  1. #1
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Chanting the Heart Sutra

    Most ways I've heard people chant the Heart Sutra in English are monotonous, and, to me, remove all of the meaning from the text. I think it can be done in a more interesting way; how about this?



    Gassho,

    Kirk


    (Posted from my iPhone; please excuse any typos or brevity.)
    -----

    I know nothing.

  2. #2
    Allen Ginsberg's Jewish Cantor is coming out ...



    Gassho & Shalom, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  3. #3
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Indeed, but I find that it gives the text much more meaning. Is there any reason to not chant that way? My guess is that Japanese doesn't have word stress like English, is that the case?

    Gassho,

    Kirk


    (Posted from my iPhone; please excuse any typos or brevity.)
    -----

    I know nothing.

  4. #4
    why not indeed...

    i would suggest to anybody interested to change anything in this...to give twenty or thirty years of chanting, practicing, you know, going the good old way...a go. giving it a go before suggesting a change.

    and Ginsberg is a great poet and ...a f..... poor singer (it is a musician and priest talking)

    gassho

    T.

    PS : and if you think this singing of Alan Ginsberg makes sense, you are invited to get in touch with me. And if you think Alan Ginsberg is a fraud as a poet, you are invited to get in touch with me.
    Last edited by Taigu; 04-20-2014 at 02:25 PM.
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    Hello,

    At first the atonal chant is. . ."wow, really?", THEN the atonal chanting is "sensible".

    NOW the atonal chant is, wow, really.

    Hypnotic, ain't it?


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

  6. #6
    I will say that there is a time to go deeply deeply into the old, Traditional ways ... chanting in Sino-Japanese for example ... to find the boundless depths that are in the Tradition. So, I chant so sometimes.

    But there are also times to express, cut loose ... all good too. So, we had this Heart Sutra Gospel a few years ago, written by our member Eika who is a jazz musician and music educator. The bemused French folks standing around (Taigu and my Dharma Brother Jean-Marc Bazy about 4 years ago) were probably wondering if I would require CPR at some point ...



    And we have this wonderful Japanese rap we use for our Zazenkai from time to time (gee, maybe next week!). Yes, ii is the traditional wording, as in the videos below ...



    And there is a whole series featuring robot singer (yes, she is a computer program) Hatsune Miku ...


    Hatsune Miku (初音ミク) is the first Japanese Vocaloid2 in the Vocaloid2 Character Vocal Series, the third Japanese Vocaloid created by Crypton Future Media, and is the seventh Vocaloid to have appeared overall; released on August 31, 2007. She is considered as the most popular and well known Vocaloid and the first to become a pop idol. The data for the voice was created by sampling the voice of Saki Fujita (藤田 咲, Fujita Saki), a Japanese voice actress.

    Crypton had the idea to release Miku as "an android diva in the near-future world where songs are lost."[3][4] When KEI illustrated Miku, he was asked to draw Miku as an android and a color scheme to go off of (based on YAMAHA synthesizer's signature blue-green color). Crypton also provided KEI her detailed concepts, however, Crypton says it was not easy to explain what a "Vocaloid" was like to him, and KEI says he could not create an image of a "singing computer" at first, as he did not even know what a "synthesizer" was. It took him more than a month. [5] The digital design on Miku's skirt and boots are based off synthesizer program colours and the bars represent the actual bars within the program, following Crypton's idea. Part of her design seems to be based on Yamaha's keyboard model DX-100 [6].
    http://vocaloid.wikia.com/wiki/Hatsune_Miku

    Does Hatsune Miku have Buddha Nature?

    Here are some more with her ...



    o ... thrash metal ...



    ... and R&B (I think these are human voices mixed in) ...



    And let me also mention our old member Will, who did a lovely Heart Sutra arrangement several years ago ... PLEASE give a listen to this. This always just carries me away when I hear ...

    http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=6273880

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 04-20-2014 at 03:56 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  7. #7
    Will's version is lovely. Thank you for sharing, Jundo.

    In my opinion, The Heart Sutra belongs to all of us and none of us and we should chant it as we feel it in our hearts. For those of us unable to carry much of a tune, that will probably be pretty much the traditional version (or one of them!) and it is doubtless wise for members of a physical sangha to work to the same tune for the sake of harmony! However, so long as it comes from the heart, I have no problem with it being sung as plainsong, Jewish traditional forms, jazz, folk or rap.

    Gassho
    Andy

  8. #8
    Ah, yes, plainsong ... the Order of Buddhist Contemplative has this version of the Heart Sutra. Basically, very much like a gregorian chant, as Kennett Roshi often borrowed forms from the Anglican Church ...

    http://www.throssel.org.uk/sites/def...06greatwis.mp3

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  9. #9
    Let me add one more point. We recently had a discussion with some of our Novice-Priests training here who were experimenting and putting some self expression into some of the chanting during our Zazenkai. Taigu and I told them to stop. Why? Well, when training they should go deeply into the "traditions" of how we do things around here. Perhaps if the time comes that they are off on their own sometime in the future, well, then they can do as they wish.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  10. #10
    Senior Member Joyo's Avatar
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    I personally like the "monotanous" chanting and can see myself doing it for years to come. However, always enjoy something a bit different to listen to, as I often have this kind of music on when I am cooking.

    Gassho,
    Joyo

  11. #11
    For me I enjoy chanting the traditional monotonous style as it allows me to connect to that tradition. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen
    真 眼

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

  12. #12
    This ain't really the Heart Sutra, and it is last year's meme, but Daitetsu and Hans worked hard and it was fun ...

    Last edited by Jundo; 04-20-2014 at 04:46 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    This ain't really the Heart Sutra, and it is last year's meme, but Daitetsu and Hans worked hard and it was fun ...

    Oh yes, that was a fun zazenkai for sure .... =)

    Gassho
    Shingen
    真 眼

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

  14. #14
    Kinda really like this one too ... beyond "like/dislike" of course ... (in case you will be wondering, he chants the full Sutra prose text in this, not the abbreviated chant version, so a lot more words) ...



    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 04-20-2014 at 05:18 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  15. #15
    Woooo, like totally groovy! =)

    Gassho
    Shingen
    真 眼

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

  16. #16
    OMG ... this is the best! =)



    Gassho
    Shingen
    真 眼

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

  17. #17
    Senior Member Joyo's Avatar
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    Oh my, Shingen, that brings back memories of my Mennonite roots, hilarious!!!

    Gassho,
    Joyo

    p.s.--except for Mennonites aren't quite that lively, that's too "worldly" for them No dancing allowed!!!

  18. #18
    I love Will's version of the Heart Sutra, I play that during the commute from time to time.

    Gassho,

    Risho

  19. #19
    Senior Member Nameless's Avatar
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    Hahaha! What an awesome thread. The zazenkai videos are really fun. I do "prefer" the vintage monotone as well Shingen. A vibe of timelessness. Considered recording a music version of the Heart Sutra as well. Music will be minimalist though. Lots of nice droning synth pads, and maybe some piano.

    Gassho, John

  20. #20
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    I don't know...

    I totally love the traditional Heart Sutra and I am a long way until I truly learn and understand it. I guess I have years of practice ahead of me and I'm fine with that.

    Still... I am a huge fan of Hatsune Miku and her Heart Sutra is awesome. Puts me in a good mood

    Gassho to all humans and vocaroids in this universe,

    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

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Nameless View Post
    Hahaha! What an awesome thread. The zazenkai videos are really fun. I do "prefer" the vintage monotone as well Shingen. A vibe of timelessness. Considered recording a music version of the Heart Sutra as well. Music will be minimalist though. Lots of nice droning synth pads, and maybe some piano.

    Gassho, John
    Please do, and we can use it one day for our Zazenkai ceremony.

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  22. #22
    Member Cooperix's Avatar
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    Coincidentally I have been watching a YouTube video of Thich Nhat Hanh on "letting go".


    Basically, the discussion is about attachment and "wrong view". The 5th wrong view he discusses is attachment to rules and rituals!

    Watching the posted videos in this thread has kept a smile on my face! I love the creativity and wonderful sense of life and most of all a wonderful sense of humor. How flexibility within the strictures of rituals puts new life into them.
    Bravo!. Thank you for this thread one and all...
    Anne

  23. #23
    Personally, hearing the traditional chanting gets me "in the mood", it is somehow calming, helping me to "phase down".
    I guess there must have been a reason for the monotony of the traditional chant - it can be a bit like shikantaza...

    About rules and breaking them:
    While I am not really a person who loves rituals and rules (I've always been rebellious), I see a value in them.
    There is a time to keep to the rules and a time to break them.

    I am a passionate photographer, and in photography there are also certain rules of composition that make up a good photo.
    However, sometimes you can get stunning photos by breaking those aesthetic rules - BUT: first you must know those aesthetic rules very well in order to be able to break them in an effective way!
    Not learning those rules in the first place would not help.
    I guess it is a bit the same in our practice as well: First we should get accustomed well with certain rules/rituals, and only then can we consider modifying them here and there (or completely).

    Don't know if anyone gets my point...

    Gassho,

    Daitetsu
    no thing needs to be added

  24. #24


    I just had a nice email exchange with the composer, Gary Dyson, a Tibetan Practitioner who is a student of Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, the movie director. Anyway, Gary said it was okay to "use the recording in any way that is beneficial. Share, play, give away, what ever. It is for the benefit of all."

    http://garyazukx.bandcamp.com/track/heart-sutra

    So, I will be playing the recording this Saturday, during our Zazenkai, as our Heart Sutra Recitation. Everyone, please come dance! Dance of Emptiness!

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  25. #25

  26. #26
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    Hello,

    Full Lotus and a headstand for Saturday??

    You are the teacher. . .


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

  27. #27
    Glow sticks and baby pacifiers ... but no drugs or twerking ...



    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 04-23-2014 at 02:42 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Glow sticks and baby pacifiers ... but no drugs or twerking ...



    Gassho, J
    Cool ... think I might paint my bald head with reflective paint!

    Gassho
    Shingen
    真 眼

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

  29. #29
    Senior Member Clark's Avatar
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    This is really fun everyone. I also find meaning and perhaps purpose in the traditional, I find it puts me in the "zone" too. Yet it is great to go out of the norm, if for no other reason, than to find the zone in everything.
    Gassho
    C

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