Evening chanting

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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treyg21
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Evening chanting

Post by treyg21 » Sun Oct 15, 2017 2:48 pm

Does anyone have any tips for learning the morning and evening chanting? I plan to go stay at a monastery in a few months, and I'd like to memorize the chanting before so I don't have to read along while I'm there.

I already have the chanting book, and the recordings are online, so I can listen and read along, which is what I've been doing, but I was wondering if anyone had and techniques they'd recommend, or could share their experience.

:reading:
The furniture may be exquisite,
And the bars of solid gold,
But once the bird realizes that the cage is a cage,
It finds within that cage
No joy

- Ajahn Jayasaro

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ryanM
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Re: Evening chanting

Post by ryanM » Sun Oct 15, 2017 3:30 pm

You'll just pick them up if you do the chanting frequently enough. There's a cadence that makes it easy to pick up the chanting. What's wrong with following along with the book? It'd be good if you could chant the pali and read the english so you know what's being said. Of course, some monasteries do pali and english chanting. If I remember correctly, Ajahn Geoff/Thanissaro does this.
sabbe dhammā nālaṃ abhinivesāya

"nothing whatsoever should be clung to"

treyg21
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Re: Evening chanting

Post by treyg21 » Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:46 pm

ryanM wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 3:30 pm
If I remember correctly, Ajahn Geoff/Thanissaro does this.
Does he? I wondered what they do daily at wat metta. I've heard the pali/english versions, but on YouTube and dhammatalks, the morning and evening chanting are just in pali. That's actually where I'd like visit.
The furniture may be exquisite,
And the bars of solid gold,
But once the bird realizes that the cage is a cage,
It finds within that cage
No joy

- Ajahn Jayasaro

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mikenz66
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Re: Evening chanting

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:09 am

Good questions treyg21.

My memorisation method is like Ryan's: repetition. Chanting with others, it actually doesn't matter if you have to drop a few lines here and there, the group has to be able to carry that - people have to breath!

I don't particularly like mixed Pali/English chanting. I can see the point of doing it occasionally: at my local Thai Wat they do Pali/Thai on some particular occasions, and it does mean that the meaning is spelled out. However, to me, switching languages interrupts the flow, making it much more difficult to recite and to memorise. And it also takes more than twice as long! I'd rather do one or the other for any particular passage. For example, one group I sometimes attend uses part of the Evening Chant in Pali at the start, and the Metta Sutta in English at the end.

Like Ryan, I use a book with both, and once I am reasonably familiar with it, I can remember most of the Pali, and put more effort into reading the English, and considering the meaning as I chant the Pali.

:heart:
Mike

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ryanM
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Re: Evening chanting

Post by ryanM » Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:29 am

treyg21 wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:46 pm
Does he?
Trey, as far as I can remember, yes. It's been a few years, so I could be wrong!
sabbe dhammā nālaṃ abhinivesāya

"nothing whatsoever should be clung to"

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Spiny Norman
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Re: Evening chanting

Post by Spiny Norman » Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:32 am

treyg21 wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 2:48 pm
I already have the chanting book, and the recordings are online, so I can listen and read along, which is what I've been doing, but I was wondering if anyone had and techniques they'd recommend, or could share their experience.
I wouldn't worry about it, just use the chanting book initially if you need to. After a while you won't need the book.
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream."
Dairy Lama

treyg21
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Re: Evening chanting

Post by treyg21 » Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:44 pm

Thank you all for the responses and encouragement. I have been reading along and practicing at least once per day. I plan to do it more as time goes on.

This brings up another wisdom. Does anyone actively practice the morning and evening chanting on their own, as a supplement to the practice?
The furniture may be exquisite,
And the bars of solid gold,
But once the bird realizes that the cage is a cage,
It finds within that cage
No joy

- Ajahn Jayasaro

form
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Re: Evening chanting

Post by form » Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:43 pm

What is the purpose of chanting? Any reference that the Buddha teach us to chant?

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mikenz66
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Re: Evening chanting

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:07 am

In the suttas there are various passages about hearing and memorising the teachings. Since the suttas were not written down, that was the method of transmission:

E.g. https://suttacentral.net/en/mn95
“Memorising the teachings is most helpful for examining the meaning, Bhāradvāja. If one does not memorise a teaching, one will not examine its meaning; but because one memorises a teaching, one examines its meaning.”

“But what, Master Gotama, is most helpful for memorising the teachings? We ask Master Gotama about the thing most helpful for memorising the teachings.”

“Hearing the Dhamma is most helpful for memorising the teachings, Bhāradvāja. If one does not hear the Dhamma, one will not memorise the teachings; but because one hears the Dhamma, one memorises the teachings. That is why hearing the Dhamma is most helpful for memorising the teachings.”
...
Of course, today we can read the teachings, but chanting aids memorisation. It can also be an inspirational and calming activity.

:heart:
Mike

form
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Re: Evening chanting

Post by form » Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:59 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:07 am
In the suttas there are various passages about hearing and memorising the teachings. Since the suttas were not written down, that was the method of transmission:

E.g. https://suttacentral.net/en/mn95
“Memorising the teachings is most helpful for examining the meaning, Bhāradvāja. If one does not memorise a teaching, one will not examine its meaning; but because one memorises a teaching, one examines its meaning.”

“But what, Master Gotama, is most helpful for memorising the teachings? We ask Master Gotama about the thing most helpful for memorising the teachings.”

“Hearing the Dhamma is most helpful for memorising the teachings, Bhāradvāja. If one does not hear the Dhamma, one will not memorise the teachings; but because one hears the Dhamma, one memorises the teachings. That is why hearing the Dhamma is most helpful for memorising the teachings.”
...
Of course, today we can read the teachings, but chanting aids memorisation. It can also be an inspirational and calming activity.

:heart:
Mike
If it is for preserving the teachings, it has a practical purpose. The buddha taught us to commit to memory, understand and use that for practical observations to confirm. In that regards, I believe a more modern approach (like a typical university approach) may be more effective for our mind to assimilate the teachings.

But, chanting is also traditionally linked to having other even magical effects which are what I am concerned with.

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mikenz66
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Re: Evening chanting

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 2:11 am

form wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:59 am
But, chanting is also traditionally linked to having other even magical effects which are what I am concerned with.
Yes, recollections are said to have good effects in many suttas:
viewtopic.php?t=26134
“But, bhikkhus, I say this: If you have gone to a forest or to the foot of a tree or to an empty hut, and fear or trepidation or terror should arise in you, on that occasion you should recollect me thus: ‘The Blessed One is an arahant, perfectly enlightened, accomplished in true knowledge and conduct, fortunate, knower of the world, unsurpassed leader of persons to be tamed, teacher of devas and humans, the Enlightened One, the Blessed One.’ For when you recollect me, bhikkhus, whatever fear or trepidation or terror you may have will be abandoned.
That's one of the recollections in the morning and evening chants:
Itipi so bhagava araham samma-sambuddho, ...
He is a Blessed One, a Worthy One, a Rightly Self-awakened One, ...
:heart:
Mike

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