Chanting

The chanting of mantras or sacred syllables as part of the path to realization
  • The Buddha-charita Paid Member

    This installment is the second in a series of excerpts from The Buddha-charita or Life of Buddha, the first complete biography of Shakyamuni Buddha, written by the poet Ashvaghosha, probably in the first century C.E. The Buddha-charita is made up of twenty-eight songs recounting events in the Buddha’s life up to the time of his great awakening. The previous installment described Shakyamuni’s family and the events that surrounded his birth. In this episode we hear Shakyamuni’s first words and witness the arrival of Asita, the great seer, who pronounces the Buddha’s fate. This excerpt was adapted from Edward B. Cowell’s 1893 translation (Cosmo Publications, New Delhi, India). Original spellings, usages, and punctuation have been retained throughout. More »
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    What’s in a Mantra? Paid Member

    SO YOU’RE SITTING there, reciting the Heart Sutra, either the long version or the short version. Perhaps you do so every day. It has been recited millions of times over the centuries, without the person reciting it necessarily paying much attention to the meaning (whatever that might mean). But today, let’s imagine that you do. After dutifully negating each of the major categories of Buddhist philosophy (“no eye constituent up to and including no mental consciousness constituent, no ignorance, no extinction of ignorance, no aging and death up to and including no extinction of aging and death. More »
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    Chanting for Stuff Paid Member

    A common criticism I hear of Nichiren Buddhists, and of Soka Gakkai International members in particular, is that we practice Buddhism for material gain, to get stuff. Well, we do, but it’s a good thing. Really. I was raised a Buddhist and, as such, have a pretty good grasp on the idea of the impermanence of all things. I try to look beneath the surface and identify deeper significance and the connections between things. But even with this perspective, I still live in human society. I am still a human being, subject to all the potential emotional entanglements and flare-ups that brings. Try as I may to focus on the fact that the jerk who cut me off on the freeway is really a manifestation of my own sense of helplessness about my environment, on a bad day he remains the jerk who cut me off. More »