Saturday, November 26, 2011

Continuous Buddhist Chanting

Here is a short description of the reasons behind a ten day continuous chanting service being held by the Malvern Pureland Sangha in the UK. Some folks in the "Western" Buddhist world tend to look down on this kind of thing, suggesting that seated meditation is required to "be a Buddhist." Personally, I feel that's a limited view, and would rather spread the joy of the diversity present in our ancient tradition.

Amida Buddha is the Buddha of infinite light and life, and by chanting we put ourselves in relationship with this 'ideal'. His sparkling golden qualities rub off on us, just as we become better people when we're in a relationship with anyone wise, ethical and loving.

But this theology, in some ways, is neither here nor there.

What's crucially important (and what feels impossibly difficult to explain) is that we are chanting to connect us to a kind of universal love. And we are chanting for the benefit of everyone.

We are reminding ourselves and other people that we are held by something much bigger and more complex than we can imagine. We are expressing our gratitude for this.

Please go read the rest of the post. A little further down, the author's words remind me of how silent meditation retreats can feel. It looks different, but perhaps heading in the same direction?

Mouths closed in noble silence. Mouths open in Buddha's name.

"Namo Amida Butsu"

May you all be well today.

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Ji Hyang said...

One can also find good Buddhist reasons for not differentiating between "self- power" and "other- power", Mark Unno has spoken to this, as has Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche. Seeing past this apparent duality is good practice for us.

Nathan said...

Good point. Clark Strand spoke about this as well when he was at our zen center several years ago.