Chanting is an essential aspect of any type of Buddhist belief and is often compared to various religious recitations practiced under Hindu, Jewish, or Catholic principles. Chanting is an approach of immersing oneself in spiritual, cultural, and ritualistic practices of Buddhism that is commonly carried out in small or big groups of people.
A Buddhist chant is a type of melodic verse or invocation that is traditionally done to prepare one’s mind for meditation contrary to the common belief that it is some form of a Buddhist prayer. According to practitioners, in chanting one can learn, teach, philosophize, or recall the whole Buddhist discourse.
The development of Buddhist chanting said to have started from simply memorizing its discourse during the times when books and other support materials were lacking. In order to retain the thought and essence of Buddhism, one was required to memorize its principles, learn it, and live with it. And for the propagation and preservation of the Buddhist thought, the discourse was passed on to the next generation which then became a practice until now.
The concept behind the chanting is that if a practitioner does not recite the Buddhist discourse daily, there is the tendency to forget it and leave out some of its important parts. In some way, chanting has proven to have helped the very survival of Buddha’s teaching called Dhammaâ€.
With the development of technology nowadays, the purpose of chanting has also evolved. Today, chanting serves the purpose of more than the memorization of Buddhist discourse. Believers claim that in chanting one can gain confidence, satisfaction, and joy in one’s life and develop a sense of devotion within the person’s being. Also, the repetitive process of chanting or recitation of the Buddhist discourse is believed to bring out good karma to person who is strictly practicing it.
Audio format with Translations of Common Chants
In the audio versions on the following pages, Rev. Katsuya Kusunoki, of the Seattle Buddhist Temple, chants a series of traditional Sutras. Rev. Kusunoki has been certified as a “chanting instructor” by the Ritual Department of the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji (international Jodo Shinshu headquarters). While chanting is typically done with the Sangha (congregation), here Rev. Kusunoki chants solo so one can hear the tones and pitches involved. These audios were made possible in part by a grant from the Rev. Gyodo Kono Fund, Midwest Buddhist Temple
Junirai (click to read text of chant)
Juseige (click to hear audio and read text of chant)
Sanbutsuge (click to read text of chant)
Shoshinge (click to read text of chant)