The efficacy of chanting

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

The power of sound and chanting

Postby DarwidHalim » Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:55 am

There is a question about chanting effect to bring enlightenment to ourselves.

How can a sound change you? Or sometimes, we think we just chant alient voice without knowing the meaning, how can it change you.

Chanting actually already exist since long time ago. In Hindu, there are mantra yoga, where the job is chanting. We are doing meditation with chanting. This chanting is believed to open the chakra which is blocked.

Although for the practitioner who do chanting regularly can actually feel the difference, but for outsider, this effect is very difficult to be believed.

Scientiest actually has open this door by showing us that sound can change the object.

Prof. Masaru Emoto did an experiment with rice.
http://www.masaru-emoto.net/english/ediary200508.html

Image

"Also, a friend of Ayano Furuya who lives on the Gold Coast attended the seminar and kindly brought two jars of rice in which her friend conducted a very interesting experiment on. As you can see in the picture below, the rice on the left is still white and looks like normal rice while the one on the right is black and has turned into liquid. Believe it or not, these rice are 11 years old! The rice on the left was prayed to once a day for just a week and the rice on the right was left on top of the fridge and ignored. The audience gasped in amazement and we were once again reminded of the power of prayer, words and intention."

If you go to youtube, you can see a lot of people actually trying to redo the experiment done by Masaru Emoto, by keeping two bowl of rice. One bowl of rice, we say good words, another bowl of rice, we say bad words. The rice, which is subjected to good words can last for many days. But, the one with bad words, it will spoil.

Prof. Emoto also did another experiment with water. Subject the water to different sound, and you will get different shape of "ice".



The impact of sound is then clear that sound can change you.

Rice don't understand human language.
Water don't understand human language.

For both of them, our language is alient.

Same thing. When we do chanting, sometimes we don't understand the meaning, it sounds like alient language. Although each sound has a meaning, but not all of us know that. Interestingly, although you don't know the meaning, it definitiely change you. In Mantra yoga, it is said that it changes your energy pattern.

Mantra yoga is real. It is not just noisy sound.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: The power of sound and chanting

Postby David2 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:05 am

"Also, a friend of Ayano Furuya who lives on the Gold Coast attended the seminar and kindly brought two jars of rice in which her friend conducted a very interesting experiment on. As you can see in the picture below, the rice on the left is still white and looks like normal rice while the one on the right is black and has turned into liquid. Believe it or not, these rice are 11 years old! The rice on the left was prayed to once a day for just a week and the rice on the right was left on top of the fridge and ignored. The audience gasped in amazement and we were once again reminded of the power of prayer, words and intention."


Nothing wrong with praying, but that story sounds like superstitious, pseudo-scientific nonsense to me.

the rice on the right was left on top of the fridge


Obviously that rice was in different conditions (like different temperature and/or different humidity). No surprise it looks differently.
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Re: The power of sound and chanting

Postby DarwidHalim » Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:08 am

David2 wrote:Obviously that rice was in different conditions (like different temperature and/or different humidity). No surprise it looks differently.


Scientiest knows how to do research. When they want to compare 2 things, they know the temperature, humidity, or whatever it is, has to be same.

There is no cowboy job in research.

This is reality. No point to deny it.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: The power of sound and chanting

Postby David2 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:14 am

DarwidHalim wrote:
David2 wrote:Obviously that rice was in different conditions (like different temperature and/or different humidity). No surprise it looks differently.


Scientiest knows how to do research. When they want to compare 2 things, they know the temperature, humidity, or whatever it is, has to be same.

There is no cowboy job in research.

This is reality. No point to deny it.


I don't deny anything. But you can't leave something on the fridge (which is obviously on the outside warmer (or maybe at some parts colder) than room temperature) and tell people at the same time that you are doing objective science.
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Re: The power of sound and chanting

Postby DarwidHalim » Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:23 am

David2 wrote:I don't deny anything. But you can't leave something on the fridge (which is obviously warmer on the outside than room temperature) and tell people at the same time that you are doing objective science.


In this case, you can search in internet how that professor do his reseach. See whether he is that idiot or not putting the rice on the fridge.

http://www.positive-thinking-principles ... power.html

Do you know the sound can also affect the growth of the plant?

See this research:
http://www.motherearthnews.com/Sustaina ... -Uses.aspx

This research has been repeated by another university and all show same result.
http://sps.nus.edu.sg/~tanshenm/2171.pdf

Same thing. THat rice experiment has been repeated many times by householders. You can see that in youtube.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: The power of sound and chanting

Postby David2 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:37 am

DarwidHalim wrote:Do you know the sound can also affect the growth of the plant?


Yes, I've heard of it. That may be true, still the rice-experiment is a different thing.

THat rice experiment has been repeated many times by householders. You can see that in youtube.


Well, as long as I don't see a real objective scientific study "with facts and numbers", I don't believe it.

This is how the Buddha wanted us to live: to not believe anything too early.

:anjali:
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Re: The efficacy of chanting

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:20 am

The utterance of truth is a powerful invocation in the discourses, I believe the most noticable example is by Angulimala.

sound does have an effect upon us, particularly, in my experience, our own.

either the nada sound, or our own voice. it seams to me that the quality of our voice plays a role in/representing the quality of our inner life, either the words we actually say or the manner inwhich they are said, be it deliberate or not.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: The efficacy of chanting

Postby pilgrim » Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:34 pm

Commentators have criticized Emoto for insufficient experimental controls,[9] and for not sharing enough details of his approach with the scientific community.[10] In addition, Emoto has been criticized for designing his experiments in ways that leave them open to human error influencing his findings.[11]

In the day-to-day work of his group, the creativity of the photographers rather than the rigor of the experiment is an explicit policy.[12] Emoto freely acknowledges that he is not a scientist,[13] and that photographers are instructed to select the most pleasing photographs.[14]

In 2003, James Randi publicly offered Emoto one million dollars if his results can be reproduced in a double-blind study.[15]

In 2005, Kristopher Setchfield (a graduate of Castleton State College in Vermont with a BA in Health Science) published a paper[16] that analyzed deeper motives regarding Emoto's study. In his paper, Setchfield writes,

Unfortunately for his credibility with the scientific community, Dr. Emoto sells products based on his claims. For example, the products page of Emoto's Hado website is currently offering "geometrically perfect" "Indigo water" that is "highly charged hexagonally structured concentrate," and supposedly creates "structured water" that is "more easily assimilated at the cellular level" for $35 for an eight-ounce bottle. Without providing scientific research references for the allegedly amazing qualities of his Indigo Water, Emoto's commercial venture calls to mind ethical concerns regarding his intent and motivation—questions that would not be present if any scientist had published research supporting his claims.

In 2006, Emoto published a paper together with Dean Radin and others in the journal Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing. They describe that in a double blind test approximately 2000 people in Tokyo could increase the aesthetic appeal of water stored in a room in California, compared to water in another room, solely through their positive intentions.[17]
[edit] Triple-blind study

A better-controlled "triple-blind" follow-up study published in the Journal of Scientific Exploration did not yield positive results. More than 1,900 of Mr. Emoto's followers focused gratitude on water bottles in a vault over a period of three days. The water was then frozen and compared to two different sets of controls in a very elaborate protocol. Crystals from all three groups were not, on average, considered to be particularly beautiful (scoring 1.7 on a scale of 0 to 6, where 6 was very beautiful). Crystals from the experimental group were also rated slightly less beautiful than a set of controls. An objective comparison of contrast did not reveal any significant differences among the samples.[18]

There were, however, potential problems with the "triple-blind" follow up. As the study explains:

In any experiment involving intention, the intentions of the "investigators" cannot be cleanly isolated from those of the nominal participants and this in turn constrains how one should properly interpret the results. In addition, there were many uncontrolled degrees of freedom in this experiment which may have allowed ‘‘unintended intentional’’ effects to creep in. They all involve human decisions, e.g. selecting six specific bottles of water from a huge population of available bottles, randomly assigning those bottles to three conditions, selecting and preparing the water drops, placing the water drop samples inside the freezer, searching for and photographing ice crystals on the frozen water drops at different magnification levels, choosing one of a large possible set of image processing algorithms to provide an objective measure of image contrast, and so on."[19]

Physician Harriet A. Hall writes, about the ideas of Emoto, that "This watery fantasy is all very entertaining and imaginative, full of New Age feel-good platitudes, holistic oneness, consciousness raising, and warm fuzzies; but it's hard to see how anyone could mistake it for science."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masaru_Emoto
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Re: The efficacy of chanting

Postby DarwidHalim » Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:59 pm

This world is like this.

Have you heard people condemn Buddha? You go to YouTube you will find thousand.

Have you heard people condemn meditation?

Same thing here, even when science moves in people still don't believe it.

This kind of experiment is very easy to do. We can even do it ourselves.

This link show a lady repeat the same research.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjfN3K_v ... ata_player

This is the result after 5 days:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTz-cYk9 ... ata_player

Even when Buddha is Standing in front of you, you won't see him due to your karma or mindset.

Samsara is really thick.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: The efficacy of chanting

Postby pilgrim » Mon Jan 30, 2012 1:08 pm

DarwidHalim wrote:This world is like this.

Have you heard people condemn Buddha? You go to YouTube you will find thousand.
Have you heard people condemn meditation?
Same thing here, even when science moves in people still don't believe it.
This kind of experiment is very easy to do. We can even do it ourselves.
This link show a lady repeat the same research.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjfN3K_v ... ata_player
This is the result after 5 days:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTz-cYk9 ... ata_player

Even when Buddha is Standing in front of you, you won't see him due to your karma or mindset.
Samsara is really thick.

OK...if you say so...
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Re: The efficacy of chanting

Postby David2 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 1:09 pm

If you search the internet you can also find videos of people who "prove" that it is possible to bend spoones only with mind power.
No reason to believe Uri Geller is a scientist. :tongue:

Edit: Btw, DarwidHalim, did you read the top-comment of the result video?

When I watched you set this up, you put your fingers in the "you fool" jar when you taped the paper on it. You also touched the rice when you pushed it down inside the jar. None of that happened in the "Thank you" jar. A small thing, but it only takes a small bit of bacteria to make a HUGE difference. I would be interested to see what two jars of rice without any words on, in or spoken over them do when has fingers in it and the other does not.
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Re: The efficacy of chanting

Postby santa100 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:47 pm

While simple mind power might not be able to bend spoones but a tiny butterfly flapping its wings could effect the strength of a hurricane half a world away. Google for "Butterfly effect" and "Chaos theory". So, while more research and time is needed to validate the experiments in the OP, at least there's an experiment we know that works and can be tested for oursevles: that the chanting of various Suttas or Mantras do bring peace and happiness to our mind and that in turn greatly benefits our overall wellbeing both physically and mentally.
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Re: The efficacy of chanting

Postby David2 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 3:00 pm

santa100 wrote:that the chanting of various Suttas or Mantras do bring peace and happiness to our mind and that in turn greatly benefits our overall wellbeing both physically and mentally.


I agree. No need for pseudo-science because everybody can experience the great effects of chanting on one's own mind.
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Re: The efficacy of chanting

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Jan 30, 2012 3:43 pm

http://www.world-mysteries.com/sci_cymatics.htm

I remembered watching a documentry on Roslyn chapel (yes the one made famous by the DaVinci code) and there was a claim that the patterns on the roof maybe musical notes so I had a search and found the above link, which seams interesting.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: The efficacy of chanting

Postby imagemarie » Mon Jan 30, 2012 3:48 pm

I've been a regular chanter for a couple of years. Several members of the meditation group I sit with weekly, meet 30 minutes beforehand to chant in Pali (largely self-taught from listening to cd's). It provides a way of settling into the practice. Some (if not all), papanca/hindrances, are put on hold for the duration. I enjoy doing this as part of a group. We have a common purpose, and it is intended to be Dhamma related. Certainly, when we feel that we "get it right" (rhythm, pace, breathing, intonation, pali vowels and consonants, recollection, the "tune" etc) there is mudita and metta expressed. And karuna and upekkha when we don't. :smile: There is no pride in the performance, we just like doing it.

Efficacious? Inasmuch as everything is teaching us. And that depends upon the chanter.

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Re: Goenka retreat- aversion towards Chanting

Postby chownah » Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:43 pm

I Googled "goenka good vibrations" and got quite a few hits...it seems that Goenka believes that the Pali language has "good vibrations" and this is possibly why he uses Pali chanting so much.....among the google results are:


From: http://actualfreedom.com.au/richard/sel ... goenka.htm
"....
• Question: What are vibrations? How do they affect us?
• Mr. Satya Goenka: Everything in the Universe is vibrating. This is no theory, it is a fact. The entire Universe is nothing but vibrations. The good vibrations make us happy, the unwholesome vibrations cause misery. Vipassana will help you come out of effect of bad vibrations – the vibrations caused by a mind full of craving and aversion. When the mind is perfectly balanced, the vibrations become good. And these good or bad vibrations you generate start influencing the atmosphere all around you. Vipassana helps you generate vibrations of purity, compassion and goodwill – beneficial for yourself and all others’. (http://www.vri.dhamma.org/general/quest ... vibrations).
..."
and from the same web page:
"....
• Question: ‘Are there Dhamma forces that support us as we develop on the Path?
• Mr. Satya Goenka: ‘Certainly – visible as well as invisible ones. (...) If we develop love, compassion and goodwill, we will get tuned up with all beings, visible or invisible, that have these positive vibrations, and we will start getting support from them. It is like tuning a radio to receive waves of a certain meter band from a distant broadcasting station. Similarly, we tune ourselves to vibrations of the type we generate; and so we receive the benefit of those vibrations’. (http://www.vri.dhamma.org/general/quest ... ammaforces).
..."
and from the same web page:
"...
• Question: ‘What is the value of attending group sittings?
• Mr. Satya Goenka: ‘Whenever a few people sit together, whatever they generate in their minds permeates the atmosphere. If five, ten, twenty, or fifty people meditate together, the vibrations of one or two among them might be good vibrations and this may help the others meditate better in that atmosphere’. (http://www.vri.dhamma.org/newsletters/nl9906.html).
..."
and from the same web page:
"....
• Mr. Satya Goenka: ‘... at the end of every Vipassana course, or a 1-hour sitting, a meditator is asked to practice metta [loving-kindness], to share the merits gained with all beings. Metta vibrations are tangible vibrations whose beneficial power increases as the purity of the mind increases. (...) Without samadhi, the metta is really no metta [selfless love]. When samadhi is weak, the mind is very agitated, and it is agitated only when it is generating some impurity, some type of craving or aversion. With these impurities, you cannot expect to generate good qualities, vibrations of metta, or karuna (compassion)’. (http://www.vri.dhamma.org/general/question.html#metta).
..."
and from the same web page:
"....
• Mr. Satya Goenka: ‘... people who don’t practice Vipassana can practice Metta Bhavana. In such countries as Burma, Sri Lanka and Thailand, Metta Bhavana is very common in every household. However, the practice is usually confined to mentally reciting ‘May all beings be happy, be peaceful’. This certainly gives some peace of mind to the person who is practicing it. To some extent good vibrations enter the atmosphere, but they are not strong. However, when you practice Vipassana, purification starts. With this base of purity, your practice of Metta naturally becomes stronger. Then you won’t need to repeat these good wishes aloud. A stage will come when every fiber of the body keeps on feeling compassion for others, generating goodwill for others’. (http://www.vri.dhamma.org/general/question.html#metta).
...."
and from the same web page:
"....
• Mr. Satya Goenka: ‘When we generate vibrations of negativity – anger, hatred, ill-will, animosity, ego, etc. – the atmosphere around us becomes charged with these vibrations. This pollution, although invisible, causes so many problems in human society – tensions, stress, strain, conflicts. Misery, nothing but misery. Vipassana is the way out of this misery. It is a technique to purify the mind. In order to overcome the darkness of ignorance and negativity we must generate love, compassion and goodwill. In order to generate these wholesome qualities, we need to purify our minds. (...) It is the mind which creates all these different types of pollution. As long as the mind remains impure, it will continue to generate unhealthy vibrations, making the entire atmosphere full of misery’. (http://www.vri.dhamma.org/research/94sem/sng94talk.html).
...."
and from the same web page:
"....
• Mr. Satya Goenka: ‘This is how mara (which is nothing but the manifestation of your own impurities) gets into the centre; you start fighting with each other and generating bad vibrations of anger and hatred and this spoils the entire atmosphere of the centre. You have come to help develop good vibrations of love and compassion and peace, and in the name of Dhamma you have started harming the centre and also harming yourselves. Be careful to see that you do not fight with each other; you must live together in peace and harmony’. (http://www.vri.dhamma.org/general/dgedays.html).
...."
and from the same web page:
"....
• Mr. Satya Goenka: ‘Vipassana wants you to observe the natural vibration that you have – in the form of sensations – vibrations when you become angry, or when you are full of passion, or fear, or hatred, so that you can come out of them’. (http://www.vri.dhamma.org/general/question.html#mantras).
...."
and from: http://www.buddhanet.net/bvk_study/bvk22b.htm
"...
Q. You have met J. Krishnamurti. Tell us what you think of him and his teachings as compared to Vipassana.
Answer by S. N. Goenka: He was a good saintly person - I met him. Very good vibrations - practicing Vipassana. The same thing... He got it because of his past experiences....."

and from this web page there is a bunch of talk about Goenka's usage of the term "vibrations"....it seems he has a well developed concept of "vibrations" and what they do and how they work: http://www.abhidhamma.org/forums/index. ... =137&st=20

chownah
Last edited by chownah on Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Goenka retreat- aversion towards Chanting

Postby Brizzy » Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:49 pm

Well, I am back to topic. I think to get a better view of chanting by Mr Goenka we should look to his own words. They are not exactly the ones I was looking for but I hope they go some way to confirming my previous statements...........

......................................................Convince questioners of the value of
this rule by explaining that when one chants or sings one generates vibrations, and
only those who have been properly trained should do that at a centre. One who has
been trained to chant goes deep inside with equanimity and feels sensations
whenever there is a pause. This kind of chanting generates healthy vibrations.
However developed a student may be, he or she has not been properly trained to
chant and should refrain from doing so.

When you are teaching in English, why do you use Pāli and Hindi words in your
chanting and your discourses?
Well, these words are so pleasant to me. Pāli is the language of the Enlightened
Person, and Hindi is my mother tongue. They also create a good vibration for the
students to meditate in. In the English discourses I am cautious and try to use them
as little as possible, but in the Hindi discourses Pāli verses are very helpful. They
give inspiration, and Pāli becomes easy to understand for many Indian students after
taking only a few courses.
However, even in the West old students keep telling me, "When you recite a Pāli
gāthā [verse] we feel good vibrations." A new student may not agree with this; he or
she might have aversion and think, "What is this chanting? Why is he disturbing
me?" But slowly this person will start to understand the benefits.
Last time the ten discourses in English were recorded the Pāli gāthās were reduced
to a minimum and afterwards there were complaints about this. We cannot please
everybody, some will remain discontented. We have to serve as best we can, and
you have to serve as best you can as Dhamma servers. §
Is there any purpose behind the old students’ chanting of sādhu and bowing, or is
this just a rite or ritual?
They are not part of a rite or a ritual. As I said earlier, the extremity at the top of the
head can receive vibrations. When a teacher expresses mettā by saying Bhavatu
sabba maṅgalaṃ, he or she generates good vibrations, and when you bow down you
accept those vibrations of mettā at the top of the head. It is in your own interest to
accept good vibrations. If you are thirsty and somebody offers you water, you will
get the water only if you cup your hands together. If you keep your hands apart the
water will be lost.

Saying sādhu is an expression of sympathetic joy, and you join with the teacher’s
feeling of joy when you say this. Both bowing and saying sādhu are in your own
interest, they are not part of any rite or ritual. They are a healthy tradition from the
past. Make use of them. §


http://www.vridhamma.org/uploadedfiles/BenefitofMany.pdf

Q. About chanting…

A. Chanting is part of the duty of a Teacher, to give good vibrations, to protect the work of the students from any bad vibrations from outside. The students’ job is to practise and observe, which is why they are not asked to chant. At a certain stage some are taught: between each word you are aware of sensations with anicca, with sampajañña very clearly in every pause. This, not mere chanting, gives the Dhamma vibration. It becomes part of the constant meditation of sampajañña. Otherwise mere chanting, which looks so easy, is just a rite, ritual or religious ceremony.


http://www.vridhamma.org/Discourses-on-Satipatthana-Sutta

Metta

:smile:
Ignorance is an intentional act.
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Re: The efficacy of chanting

Postby Brizzy » Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:08 pm

Surely it is not the sounds or the noises made in chanting, it has to be the words of Dhamma that are received and understood that make a change. If this is done by chanting oneself or just listening then I can see a real usefulness, as long as there is understanding. Anything else and it just becomes a mystical pseudo-science.

Metta

:smile:

BTW Since I actually understand one or two of the simpler pali chants, I have no objection to listening to them and can feel the benefits of a Dhamma teaching.
Ignorance is an intentional act.
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Re: The efficacy of chanting

Postby beeblebrox » Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:58 pm

I take the time to recite the Karaniya Metta Sutta daily... the changes are quite noticeable. I'm deaf, so it has nothing to do with sounds... I don't get the same effect if I just read it in the normal way, though. :anjali:
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Re: The efficacy of chanting

Postby santa100 » Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:52 pm

Now the question is whether chanting sound alone (without word interpretation) is sufficient to bring benefits to oneself. I believe there is a possibility. Other traditions have been employing this technique. Mahayana practitioners recite their Great Compassionate Heart Dharani in the original form without translation. Vajrayana practitioners recite various Tara and Amitabha Mantras. And the practice does seems to bring the mind to a higher state of purification and awareness.
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