Is chanting an important part of the practice?

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SarathW
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Is chanting an important part of the practice?

Post by SarathW » Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:19 pm

Is chanting (reciting) an important part of the practice?
Where does it mention in the Sutta?
What is the Pali word? Is it Parittha?
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Sam Vara
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Re: Is chanting an important part of the practice?

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:53 pm

SarathW wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:19 pm
Is chanting (reciting) an important part of the practice?
Where does it mention in the Sutta?
What is the Pali word? Is it Parittha?
AN 6.51 (which is about Ven. Ananda) refers to what might be chanting, in a list of things monks are advised to do with regard to suttas. It is translated in this way by Ajahn Thanissaro:
There is the case, friend, where a monk masters the Dhamma: dialogues, narratives of mixed prose & verse, explanations, verses, spontaneous exclamations, quotations, birth stories, amazing events, question & answer sessions. He teaches the Dhamma in detail — as he has heard it, as he has remembered it — to others. He gets others to recite the Dhamma in detail — as they have heard it, as they have remembered it. He holds a group chanting of the Dhamma in detail — as he has heard it, as he has remembered it.
The term used is I think vāceti, which means something like "to make speak", and could mean either chanting or recitation of the texts.

Edit: I think Paritta means something like "protection", so would not apply to all chanting or recitation.

dharmacorps
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Re: Is chanting an important part of the practice?

Post by dharmacorps » Thu Apr 25, 2019 10:12 pm

I can only speak for myself, but I was never a big fan of chanting. A few years ago I decided to try it out and was really surprised how powerful it is in terms of calming the mind and enhancing meditation. It also helps give a reason to memorize suttas and possess the ability to recite teachings from memory. I chant suttas and parittas daily. Just my experience.

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Re: Is chanting an important part of the practice?

Post by sentinel » Fri Apr 26, 2019 5:33 am

Change your perspective , then you can see differently . Did you ever noticed that the monks from Buddha time until today , they all could recites the sutta and memorized it by heart .
Does not this give benefits of understanding further each time one chant it aloud ?
Moreover , every recitation could bring one deepening the meditation .
:buddha1:

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DooDoot
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Re: Is chanting an important part of the practice?

Post by DooDoot » Fri Apr 26, 2019 6:21 am

SarathW wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:19 pm
Is chanting (reciting) an important part of the practice?
Where does it mention in the Sutta?
Pali chanting includes what are the essential teachings; thus leads to non-confusion.
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SarathW
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Re: Is chanting an important part of the practice?

Post by SarathW » Fri Apr 26, 2019 6:48 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:53 pm
SarathW wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:19 pm
Is chanting (reciting) an important part of the practice?
Where does it mention in the Sutta?
What is the Pali word? Is it Parittha?
AN 6.51 (which is about Ven. Ananda) refers to what might be chanting, in a list of things monks are advised to do with regard to suttas. It is translated in this way by Ajahn Thanissaro:
There is the case, friend, where a monk masters the Dhamma: dialogues, narratives of mixed prose & verse, explanations, verses, spontaneous exclamations, quotations, birth stories, amazing events, question & answer sessions. He teaches the Dhamma in detail — as he has heard it, as he has remembered it — to others. He gets others to recite the Dhamma in detail — as they have heard it, as they have remembered it. He holds a group chanting of the Dhamma in detail — as he has heard it, as he has remembered it.
The term used is I think vāceti, which means something like "to make speak", and could mean either chanting or recitation of the texts.

Edit: I think Paritta means something like "protection", so would not apply to all chanting or recitation.
:goodpost:
Link to the translation by Ven. Sujato.
It is interesting his translation does not mention about holding a group chanting of the Dhamma in detail.

https://suttacentral.net/an6.51/en/sujato
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DooDoot
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Re: Is chanting an important part of the practice?

Post by DooDoot » Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:00 am

There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/paticcasamuppada
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Sam Vara
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Re: Is chanting an important part of the practice?

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Apr 26, 2019 9:08 am

SarathW wrote:
Fri Apr 26, 2019 6:48 am
Link to the translation by Ven. Sujato.
It is interesting his translation does not mention about holding a group chanting of the Dhamma in detail.

https://suttacentral.net/an6.51/en/sujato
Yes, I noticed that! Either Ven. Sujato has missed out some lines of the Pali, or Ven. Thanissaro has made that bit up. Who to trust? :shrug:

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DooDoot
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Re: Is chanting an important part of the practice?

Post by DooDoot » Fri Apr 26, 2019 11:26 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Apr 26, 2019 9:08 am
Yes, I noticed that! Either Ven. Sujato has missed out some lines of the Pali, or Ven. Thanissaro has made that bit up. Who to trust? :shrug:
The impression is Thanissaro might have translated sajjhāya as "chanting" :?: . "Reciting" appears to be vāceti. Traditional Brahmin chanting appears to be called abhigīta. I think a relevant question is: "When monks chant Pali, are they singing or reciting?" Since the subjects of most Pali chants are actual sutta teachings, the impression is Theravada monks are "reciting".
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Is chanting an important part of the practice?

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Apr 26, 2019 3:39 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Fri Apr 26, 2019 11:26 am
Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Apr 26, 2019 9:08 am
Yes, I noticed that! Either Ven. Sujato has missed out some lines of the Pali, or Ven. Thanissaro has made that bit up. Who to trust? :shrug:
The impression is Thanissaro might have translated sajjhāya as "chanting" :?: . "Reciting" appears to be vāceti. Traditional Brahmin chanting appears to be called abhigīta. I think a relevant question is: "When monks chant Pali, are they singing or reciting?" Since the subjects of most Pali chants are actual sutta teachings, the impression is Theravada monks are "reciting".
Yes, I think you are right. Vāceti is certainly recitation (making the texts speak...) but I had only encountered sajjhaya in primers before, and thought it had more to do with reading and debating, etc., as we moderns might do. But it appears it was more like recitation or (PTS) "rehearsal".

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AgarikaJ
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Re: Is chanting an important part of the practice?

Post by AgarikaJ » Fri Apr 26, 2019 4:47 pm

dharmacorps wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 10:12 pm
It also helps give a reason to memorize suttas and possess the ability to recite teachings from memory.
Chanting is one of the most powerful tools the human mind has with regard to remembering lists due to the way the human brain connects information. And as such it is not incidental, that many Suttas contain endless lists and repetitions (the repetitions often following the same well-used pattern), with a good likelihood that chanting and melody were used to improve associative learning.

Not to forget: it must be assumed, that people not only learned the Suttas so that they could remember them for themselves, but that they actually received and handed them on purely by oral tradition, with no actual text being available to support memorizing by looking repeatedly at it -- for us used to constant use of books a completely alien way of learning).

I guess everybody knows this example from their own school time: how to get those dry and seemingly impossible to remember lists of vocabulary in your head? My then English teacher gave me an invaluable advice: try singing those same lists. In the beginning I felt absolutely ridiculous, but being really hopeless at improving my test scores I was also desperate... and it worked!

There are other ways to trigger the brain into associating data from lists, for example by creating little cartoon stories in your mind based on how foreign vocabulary sounds, not on the actual meaning of the words. But simply singing them is already a good step towards improving retention of the information.
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dharmacorps
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Re: Is chanting an important part of the practice?

Post by dharmacorps » Fri Apr 26, 2019 4:54 pm

Excellent point Agarika... the effectiveness of chanting as a memorization device is why we have the suttas at all! :anjali:

SarathW
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Re: Is chanting an important part of the practice?

Post by SarathW » Fri Apr 26, 2019 9:08 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Fri Apr 26, 2019 11:26 am
Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Apr 26, 2019 9:08 am
Yes, I noticed that! Either Ven. Sujato has missed out some lines of the Pali, or Ven. Thanissaro has made that bit up. Who to trust? :shrug:
The impression is Thanissaro might have translated sajjhāya as "chanting" :?: . "Reciting" appears to be vāceti. Traditional Brahmin chanting appears to be called abhigīta. I think a relevant question is: "When monks chant Pali, are they singing or reciting?" Since the subjects of most Pali chants are actual sutta teachings, the impression is Theravada monks are "reciting".
Monks are not allowed to Sing.
This matter was discussed in detail in Sutta Central once.

Do we need a new chanting style?

https://discourse.suttacentral.net/t/do ... style/6532
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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Is chanting an important part of the practice?

Post by JamesTheGiant » Fri Apr 26, 2019 11:50 pm

What is the usefulness of chanting in a language I can't understand?

I see chanting in English would be useful for the reasons people mentioned above.

SarathW
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Re: Is chanting an important part of the practice?

Post by SarathW » Sat Apr 27, 2019 12:00 am

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Fri Apr 26, 2019 11:50 pm
What is the usefulness of chanting in a language I can't understand?

I see chanting in English would be useful for the reasons people mentioned above.
I agree with you.
This is exactly what I felt when I was young when I heard reciting Pali.
However now I think that I wish that I learn more about Pali recitation.
Now I strongly believe that recitations have to be done in Pali after learning the meaning of what you are reciting.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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