English Chanting

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Re: English Chanting

Postby PorkChop » Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:21 pm

plwk wrote:For instance, this goldie Sunday School tune, fitted for a Dharma verse in the Lotus Sutra about how the Buddha is likened to a great compassionate father and we the children in the burning house...

Buddha loves me tis I know,
For the Sutra tells me so,
Little ones to Him belong,
They are weak but He is strong

Yes, Buddha loves me.
Yes, Buddha loves me.
Yes, Buddha loves me.
The Sutra tells me so


And one of my fav hymns retrofitted with anatta :mrgreen:
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, I has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with not self.

Refrain
It is well, with not self,
It is well, with not self,
It is well, it is well, with not self.


If that is your cup of tea, you may want to check out the Gathas from the Buddhist Churches of America (BCA).
I believe they've been doing much the same as what you describe here for the last 100 years.
User avatar
PorkChop
 
Posts: 689
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm

Re: English Chanting

Postby JKhedrup » Wed Aug 14, 2013 5:25 pm

The centre affiliated with Dharma Drum is working on this issue, see their progress here:

http://www.dharmadrumretreat.org/teachi ... v_chanting
A foolish man proclaims his qualifications,
A wise man keeps them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it sinks to the depths
-Sakya Pandita
JKhedrup
Former staff member
 
Posts: 1965
Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 8:28 am
Location: the Netherlands and India

Re: English Chanting

Postby jmlee369 » Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:50 pm

The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas conducts the morning, evening, and meal offering ceremonies in English on one day and Chinese the next day. The morning and evening ceremonies are available in audio and text from http://longbeachmonastery.org/NEWDailyRecitations.htm, and I have a recording of the meal offering ceremony if anyone wants it. I have a suspicion that they intentionally adopted new tunes for the English chanting. The evening ceremony's sutra recitation tends to be less melodious and the Mengshan is in Chinese, but I believe they're doing more work on it while using Chinese tunes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0IuIvEhyW4 (Mengshan and verses from the 88 Buddhas Repentance). Among CTTB's English chants, I think the Three Refuges and the Incense Praise are well-liked.

In terms of Tibetan things, there is the chantable translation of the 21 Praises to Tara that fits Tibetan tunes, as well as the requesting verse from the Nyung Na (O Arya Great Compassionate One...) that has a nice melody. The Po Praise is also said to be chantable, but I don't think it can be matched with a tune. Then there is the Khandro Gegyang Chod practice that uses Tibetan tunes with English translation quite nicely. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6ftet2-Tyo

I believe there are groups that do Thai chanting, reciting the Pali first then the corresponding English in the same tunes, but I'm not sure about its origins. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wj3Jx7ECWVs
jmlee369
 
Posts: 77
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:22 am

Re: English Chanting

Postby jmlee369 » Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:59 pm

Huifeng wrote:
PorkChop wrote:Here's a clip from some Buddhist nuns who seem to be doing Christian-influenced Buddhist chanting (though not the Medieval style posted earlier on this thread).


This is the standard "Dedication of Merit" song for the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. I've sung it more than a few times myself, when staying with them, and have it memorized -- but little opportunity to use in Taiwan... Though, I don't think it's Christian. If I recall correctly from talking about this with Ven. Heng Sure, I think the tune comes from some 60s (or maybe 70s) folk song.

~~ Huifeng


I've only heard the Dedication of Merit song at CTTB when DM Heng Sure was there, usually after his Avatamsaka Sutra lectures. During other times when a dedication was done in English, the more literal translation of the 愿以此功德 庄严佛净土 verse, "May the merit from this practice, adorn all the Buddhas' lands..." was used.
jmlee369
 
Posts: 77
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:22 am

Re: English Chanting

Postby lawrence » Sun Aug 18, 2013 4:10 am

Perhaps some of you in this discussion could explain to me WHY you chant, the reason why being of equal importance as the method, mayhaps?
Gassho
Lawrence
lawrence
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:09 am

Re: English Chanting

Postby Huifeng » Sun Aug 18, 2013 5:10 am

Because one needs to read / hear the teachings of the Dharma to be able to contemplate then, and put them into practice. Ie. the three stages of developing insight, through hearing, contemplation, and cultivation.

~~ Huifeng
User avatar
Huifeng
 
Posts: 1456
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:51 am

Re: English Chanting

Postby Huifeng » Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:23 am

jmlee369 wrote:
Huifeng wrote:This is the standard "Dedication of Merit" song for the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. I've sung it more than a few times myself, when staying with them, and have it memorized -- but little opportunity to use in Taiwan... Though, I don't think it's Christian. If I recall correctly from talking about this with Ven. Heng Sure, I think the tune comes from some 60s (or maybe 70s) folk song.

~~ Huifeng


I've only heard the Dedication of Merit song at CTTB when DM Heng Sure was there, usually after his Avatamsaka Sutra lectures. During other times when a dedication was done in English, the more literal translation of the 愿以此功德 庄严佛净土 verse, "May the merit from this practice, adorn all the Buddhas' lands..." was used.


Thank you. I perhaps should have said "standard English dedication of merit". :smile:
But my experience is limited.

~~ Huifeng
User avatar
Huifeng
 
Posts: 1456
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:51 am

Re: English Chanting

Postby rory » Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:53 am

I attended a Shinshu church some years ago & just listened to the sound files of English chanting. And I have to say *shudder* it's all so Christian, coming with a ton of cultural references and baggage that I, for one, have no desire to endure.

Nichiren buddhists usually chant in Sino-Japanese as our liturgical language and I like it just fine, the benefit is if I can equally chant with Spaniards, Russians, Singaporeans with no problem. It is truly international; why sacrifice such a wonderful thing? It really makes no sense to me.
gassho
Rory
Honmon Butsuryu Shu USA http://www.beikokuhbs.com/about-us.html

NamuMyohoRengeKyo
User avatar
rory
 
Posts: 554
Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 8:08 am
Location: SouthEast USA

Re: English Chanting

Postby PorkChop » Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:08 am

rory wrote:I attended a Shinshu church some years ago & just listened to the sound files of English chanting. And I have to say *shudder* it's all so Christian, coming with a ton of cultural references and baggage that I, for one, have no desire to endure.


Had a somewhat similar experience at a RisshoKoseiKai service I went to. It was not so much something to "endure", but it was a bit awkward because I wasn't expecting hymns reminiscent of a Protestant Christian service, with the accompanying piano.
User avatar
PorkChop
 
Posts: 689
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm

Re: English Chanting

Postby rory » Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:03 am

Hi Pork Chop;
So Rissho has English services, interesting.Do they chant the Lotus Sutra in English too?
I did forget, young Rev. Yamada (who was a musician) when he visited the Tendai temple did do something innovative; he set english translations to traditional Japanese shomyo. That's sounded quite nice and of course comes without the cultural baggage. But I still prefer to chant in unity using Sino-Japanese.
gassho
rory
Honmon Butsuryu Shu USA http://www.beikokuhbs.com/about-us.html

NamuMyohoRengeKyo
User avatar
rory
 
Posts: 554
Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 8:08 am
Location: SouthEast USA

Re: English Chanting

Postby PorkChop » Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:36 am

Daimoku's still in Sino-Japanese, as is the chanting at the beginning of the service when the seniors bow before the altar. After that, yes, sections from the Lotus sutra were chanted & sung in English. Understanding the history of Japan, starting with the Meiji restoration and continuing with the founding of RKK in 1938, it's not all that surprising that there were trappings of English/American songs and/or religious services. This is especially true when you consider the popularity of songs like "Kaeru no Uta(ga)" (Croaking of the Frog) - set to the tune of the 1875 Henry Clay song "My Grandfather's Clock". But like I said, I just wasn't expecting it.
User avatar
PorkChop
 
Posts: 689
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm

Re: English Chanting

Postby Hickersonia » Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:49 pm

If I chant in English, I do so in a sort of monotone sound. It is very basic and doesn't sound particularly "spiritual" but it meets the qualification for understanding what I'm reading/chanting.

Actually, regardless of language, I don't really chant in a musically inclined tone anyway as my understanding is that the Buddha didn't advise it. The Vietnamese ladies at my temple can put out a [in my opinion] beautiful sound but ultimately I think the "singing-ish" chanting turns into another attachment.
Hickersonia
http://hickersonia.wordpress.com/


"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of
throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned."

Nam mô A di đà Phật!
User avatar
Hickersonia
 
Posts: 97
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:23 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Re: English Chanting

Postby Dorje Shedrub » Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:01 pm

I think English speakers are much more acustomed to singing rather than chanting.

DS
User avatar
Dorje Shedrub
 
Posts: 45
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 11:23 pm
Location: Indiana, USA

Re: English Chanting

Postby PorkChop » Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:20 pm

Hickersonia wrote:If I chant in English, I do so in a sort of monotone sound. It is very basic and doesn't sound particularly "spiritual" but it meets the qualification for understanding what I'm reading/chanting.

Actually, regardless of language, I don't really chant in a musically inclined tone anyway as my understanding is that the Buddha didn't advise it. The Vietnamese ladies at my temple can put out a [in my opinion] beautiful sound but ultimately I think the "singing-ish" chanting turns into another attachment.


I disagree.
We chant every week, mix of monotone and a couple parts with some rhythm/melody.

With the monotone chants, even though they're in English, they don't really stick, the words don't echo in my head, it feels like the meaning doesn't sink as deep, and sometimes I catch myself reading the words without thought whatsoever - like when you make it to the bottom of a page in a book and have no idea what you just read.

I've always been a big fan of music & lyrics. Singing something often facilitates it hitting me on a very deep level - especially metaphors. The rhythmic parts of our chants are what echo in my head later, giving it time to sink in, and reminding me of the teaching. Definitely rhythm helps with memory - it's no coincidence that vast oral traditions are easily maintained via song.
User avatar
PorkChop
 
Posts: 689
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm

Previous

Return to Open Dharma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Chris_M, Taijibum, Vajraprajnakhadga, zerwe and 12 guests

>