How does offering music work?

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Tenma
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How does offering music work?

Post by Tenma »

When one offers music via playing a bell, drumming, singing, gongs, bowls, horns, flutes, strings, etc. how does one offer it? Offer the instrument and visualize it resonating divine sounds? Play the instrument and recite mantras while doing so (or recite the mantras before or after playing?)? I have an upcoming violin solo (Lalo's Symphonie Espagnole Mvt. 4), so there will be lots of intense practice. In the meantime, how can I offer music to the tathagatas or bodhisattvas like Yangchenma? There are lots of commentary on water, light, food, and incense offerings, but there's a lack of musical stuff.
cjdevries
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Re: How does offering music work?

Post by cjdevries »

I believe I've read that you can offer the sense pleasure you get from something to the Bodhisattvas.
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Vasana
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Re: How does offering music work?

Post by Vasana »

You can offer any pleasant thing your senses encounter to the objects of refuge. Just the thought of offering what is pleasing to your senses can be enough or you can imagine you are personally playing for them more elaborately and imagine the music directly being heard by these clairvoyant and clairaudient objects of refuge. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas known when we're recalling them. Intention is key. Or you can visualise offering goddesses with instruments if that's more your style.

Your teachers will likely have more to say on this topic, whether it's done elaborately or not.
ཨོཾ ་ མ ་ ཎི ་ པ ་ དྨེ ་ ཧཱུྃ ། འ ་ ཨ ་ ཧ ་ ཤ ་ ས ་ མ །
Om Mani Peme Hum ། 'A Ah Ha Sha Sa Ma
'When alone, watch your mind,When with others, watch your speech' - Old Kadampa saying
Malcolm
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Re: How does offering music work?

Post by Malcolm »

Tenma wrote: Wed Jan 15, 2020 6:58 am When one offers music via playing a bell, drumming, singing, gongs, bowls, horns, flutes, strings, etc. how does one offer it? Offer the instrument and visualize it resonating divine sounds? Play the instrument and recite mantras while doing so (or recite the mantras before or after playing?)? I have an upcoming violin solo (Lalo's Symphonie Espagnole Mvt. 4), so there will be lots of intense practice. In the meantime, how can I offer music to the tathagatas or bodhisattvas like Yangchenma? There are lots of commentary on water, light, food, and incense offerings, but there's a lack of musical stuff.
That's what the bell is for.
Tenma
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Re: How does offering music work?

Post by Tenma »

Malcolm wrote: Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:08 pm
Tenma wrote: Wed Jan 15, 2020 6:58 am When one offers music via playing a bell, drumming, singing, gongs, bowls, horns, flutes, strings, etc. how does one offer it? Offer the instrument and visualize it resonating divine sounds? Play the instrument and recite mantras while doing so (or recite the mantras before or after playing?)? I have an upcoming violin solo (Lalo's Symphonie Espagnole Mvt. 4), so there will be lots of intense practice. In the meantime, how can I offer music to the tathagatas or bodhisattvas like Yangchenma? There are lots of commentary on water, light, food, and incense offerings, but there's a lack of musical stuff.
That's what the bell is for.
And if one has other instruments like a violin (or a drum)? Or their voice?
Tenma
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Re: How does offering music work?

Post by Tenma »

Vasana wrote: Sat Jan 18, 2020 8:57 pm You can offer any pleasant thing your senses encounter to the objects of refuge. Just the thought of offering what is pleasing to your senses can be enough or you can imagine you are personally playing for them more elaborately and imagine the music directly being heard by these clairvoyant and clairaudient objects of refuge. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas known when we're recalling them. Intention is key. Or you can visualise offering goddesses with instruments if that's more your style.

Your teachers will likely have more to say on this topic, whether it's done elaborately or not.
So I don't have to try to multitasking between trying to recite "Om Ah Hum" or some complex prayer while the violin is at my chin or singing some tune?
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Vasana
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Re: How does offering music work?

Post by Vasana »

:juggling: of course not.

If you were playing music for your guru, you would just play the music as an offering. The same is true for offering sense pleasures in daily life. You can perform an offering mudra or offering mantras if you like but that would be inappropriate in most public settings. You could perform this mudra in your mind if it helps but it isn't necessary. The same for visualizing light and sound reaching them. If circmsumances permit a more elaborate practice is fine (maybe when practicing alone) but you can also simplify it too.

Mindfulness of the Buddha, and the objects of refuge and intention to offer along with bodhichitta intention is what constitutes the offering. Even if our offering isnt perfect, the intention makes it pure. In the beginning this may seem like a lot of concepts to imagine but once you are used to it you can do it all in a fingersnap or ideally without concepts of subject, object or offering

The second you encounter a nice sunset or fleeting aroma or taste, you can just remember the intention to offer and know that they know you're offering. It's a great way to gather merit and recall the qualities of the objects of refuge in the day.

Depending on your understanding of om ah hung, the sound you're offering is also part of om ah hung. But to keep it simple for now, just play as best you can with the sincere intention at the beginning that what you are about to play is an offering. When you feel you are playing well and don't find thoughts a distraction you can simply just remember and feel that you're offering again and then rejoice in this also.
ཨོཾ ་ མ ་ ཎི ་ པ ་ དྨེ ་ ཧཱུྃ ། འ ་ ཨ ་ ཧ ་ ཤ ་ ས ་ མ །
Om Mani Peme Hum ། 'A Ah Ha Sha Sa Ma
'When alone, watch your mind,When with others, watch your speech' - Old Kadampa saying
tatpurusa
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Re: How does offering music work?

Post by tatpurusa »

Tenma wrote: Wed Jan 15, 2020 6:58 am When one offers music via playing a bell, drumming, singing, gongs, bowls, horns, flutes, strings, etc. how does one offer it? Offer the instrument and visualize it resonating divine sounds? Play the instrument and recite mantras while doing so (or recite the mantras before or after playing?)? I have an upcoming violin solo (Lalo's Symphonie Espagnole Mvt. 4), so there will be lots of intense practice. In the meantime, how can I offer music to the tathagatas or bodhisattvas like Yangchenma? There are lots of commentary on water, light, food, and incense offerings, but there's a lack of musical stuff.
The practice of offering music originates from India. There, in classical hindustani (especially dhrupad) or karnatic music each raga is considered the manifestation, the "sound body" of a divinity. They are more than just offerings or invocations: they have the same power like bija mantras.
Classical Indian music is considered a tantric practice and was developed very intensively during the Buddhist period before the muslim invasions.
Malcolm
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Re: How does offering music work?

Post by Malcolm »

Tenma wrote: Sun Jan 19, 2020 6:42 am
Malcolm wrote: Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:08 pm
Tenma wrote: Wed Jan 15, 2020 6:58 am When one offers music via playing a bell, drumming, singing, gongs, bowls, horns, flutes, strings, etc. how does one offer it? Offer the instrument and visualize it resonating divine sounds? Play the instrument and recite mantras while doing so (or recite the mantras before or after playing?)? I have an upcoming violin solo (Lalo's Symphonie Espagnole Mvt. 4), so there will be lots of intense practice. In the meantime, how can I offer music to the tathagatas or bodhisattvas like Yangchenma? There are lots of commentary on water, light, food, and incense offerings, but there's a lack of musical stuff.
That's what the bell is for.
And if one has other instruments like a violin (or a drum)? Or their voice?
You can use a symbol, generally a small conch shell in the line of offerings.
Danny
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Re: How does offering music work?

Post by Danny »

Tenma wrote: Wed Jan 15, 2020 6:58 am When one offers music via playing a bell, drumming, singing, gongs, bowls, horns, flutes, strings, etc. how does one offer it?
The idea of offerings is we are offering our attachments of enjoyment of our senses. We're offering our dharmas, our judgements of things we like and enjoy and sometimes things we cannot live without, such as food and clothing etc. So we offer sound, the energy that gives us pleasure.

Regards
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Queequeg
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Re: How does offering music work?

Post by Queequeg »

tatpurusa wrote: Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:14 am The practice of offering music originates from India. There, in classical hindustani (especially dhrupad) or karnatic music each raga is considered the manifestation, the "sound body" of a divinity. They are more than just offerings or invocations: they have the same power like bija mantras.
Classical Indian music is considered a tantric practice and was developed very intensively during the Buddhist period before the muslim invasions.
I've been really into Khadri Gopalnath lately.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta
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明安 Myoan
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Re: How does offering music work?

Post by 明安 Myoan »

Danny wrote: Fri May 15, 2020 12:27 am
Tenma wrote: Wed Jan 15, 2020 6:58 am When one offers music via playing a bell, drumming, singing, gongs, bowls, horns, flutes, strings, etc. how does one offer it?
The idea of offerings is we are offering our attachments of enjoyment of our senses. We're offering our dharmas, our judgements of things we like and enjoy and sometimes things we cannot live without, such as food and clothing etc. So we offer sound, the energy that gives us pleasure.

Regards
:good:

It reminds me of Yangthang Rinpoche's advice:
The Ladder that Leads to the Pure Land, p. 3 wrote:When you are on a street, or in a market, or in a shop, and etc, when you see a beautiful flower or anything beautiful, or hear any pleasant sounds, or smell any fragrant scent, whatever pleasant things that you perceive, you can offer it to Buddha Amitabha by visualizing. This is the best way to complete the accumulations for rebirth in Buddha Amitabha's pure land. Moreover, this method does not cost your time or money, and it help you complete the accumulation for being born in pure land. So why not try it?
As others have said, playing an instrument for the buddhas or sentient beings can be fairly straightforward: make the aspiration, then do your best.
And keep practicing and learning your instrument over a long time, which is also an offering.
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

Reciting the nembutsu and believing in birth in the Pure Land naturally give rise to the Three Minds and the Four Modes of Practice. -- Master Hōnen
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Aemilius
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Re: How does offering music work?

Post by Aemilius »

:buddha1:
tatpurusa wrote: Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:14 am
Tenma wrote: Wed Jan 15, 2020 6:58 am When one offers music via playing a bell, drumming, singing, gongs, bowls, horns, flutes, strings, etc. how does one offer it? Offer the instrument and visualize it resonating divine sounds? Play the instrument and recite mantras while doing so (or recite the mantras before or after playing?)? I have an upcoming violin solo (Lalo's Symphonie Espagnole Mvt. 4), so there will be lots of intense practice. In the meantime, how can I offer music to the tathagatas or bodhisattvas like Yangchenma? There are lots of commentary on water, light, food, and incense offerings, but there's a lack of musical stuff.
The practice of offering music originates from India. There, in classical hindustani (especially dhrupad) or karnatic music each raga is considered the manifestation, the "sound body" of a divinity. They are more than just offerings or invocations: they have the same power like bija mantras.
Classical Indian music is considered a tantric practice and was developed very intensively during the Buddhist period before the muslim invasions.
Traditionally in Buddhism music is considered to cause attachment to a sense object (pleasing sound). And the eight precepts (that laity can take on special days) forbids listening to music. If you are in the Kamadhatu (realm of sense desires), how can you offer something to beings that are on the level of Rupadhatu, Arupadhatu or Nirvanadhatu?
It is also the case that playing music or listening to music can cause a state of deep concentration.
There is a story about Ashvaghosha that he could play the vina instrument in such a way that it caused in the listeners the arising of the mind of nonattachment, the mind of giving up samsara.

Sravasti Dhammika: "The Buddha commented that such lutes in the hands of skilled musicians could produce music that was `captivating, melodious and enchanting' (S.IV,197). He had a knowledge of and appreciation for fine music, probably as a result of his upper-class upbringing. He mentioned (Ja.II,253) that a lute had to be tuned to the high pitch, the middle pitch (majjhimamucchanàya) and finally with slack strings (sithila). When the Buddha heard Pañcasikha sing to the accompaniment of his lute he commented that `the sound of your strings blends well with the sound of your voice and the sound of your voice blends well with the sound of your strings'(D.II,267). However, the Buddha also knew that a transformed mind could offer far more joy than any song or symphony. The Theragàthà says: `Music from a five-piece orchestra cannot arouse as much delight as having a one-pointed mind with perfect insight into things' (Th.398)."

"Music (vàdita) is the making of sounds in a structured manner for the purpose of creating a pleasing effect. The two fundamental characteristics of Indian music were and remain mood (ràga) and rhythm (tàlàvacana, D.II,159) and the elements within it were the notes (sàra), the scales (gàmà), the tones (mucchanà) and the pauses (thànà). During the Buddha's time, refined music was played by orchestras of five instruments (Th.398). The most popular instrument in the orchestra or played solo was the lute (vinà). It consisted of the sounding board with a parchment stretched over it (cammapokkhara), the belly (doni), the arm (danda), the head (upavinà), the seven strings (sattatantã) which were plucked with the fingernails (agganakha), and the plectrum (kona), usually made of ivory (Ja.II,252; IV,470; S.IV,197)."
svaha
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They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
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Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
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