Pre-sit chanting?

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Pre-sit chanting?

Post by WontonCarter » Fri Sep 23, 2016 3:57 am

Hi everyone,

I like to do some pre-sit chanting. Mine's cobbled together from selections from San Francisco Zen Center's online resources, since I'm am without a practice group. Was thinking of switching some of them out in favor of the Sotoshu's English resources.

I was just wondering what your personal chanting routines are, if any?
“Distinguish units of letters / units of words and phrases / people who foolishly cling to these / are like elephants in a quagmire.” - the Buddha, Lankavatara Sutra

Seon practitioner.

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Re: Pre-sit chanting?

Post by tingdzin » Fri Sep 23, 2016 6:10 am

IMHO, what you chant is perhaps less important than how you chant. I was taught to chant from the hara, throwing your whole self into it. Sino-Japanese monosyllables are helpful for this, IMO more so than multisyllabled English words, which also tend to distract you into discursive thoughts, which is not where you want to be while chanting, lest it become just empty mouthing.

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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Pre-sit chanting?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Sep 23, 2016 6:14 am

When I was involved in Zen I always found the Evening Gatha to be succinct and moving:

Let me respectfully
remind you,
life and death
are of supreme importance.
Time swiftly passes by
and opportunity is lost.
Each of us should strive to awaken.
Awaken. Take heed.
Do not squander
your life.
There's no hoarding what has vanished,
No piling up for the future;
Those who have been born are standing
Like a seed upon a needle.


Mönlam Tharchin
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Re: Pre-sit chanting?

Post by Mönlam Tharchin » Sat Sep 24, 2016 12:31 am

Four Bodhisattva Vows to begin and end each session would be a great place to start. The version I learned is:
Beings are numberless; I vow to free them.
Delusions are inexhaustible; I vow to end them.
Dharma gates are boundless; I vow to enter them.
The Buddha Way is unsurpassable; I vow to embody it.
There is also this version by Uchiyama:
However innumerable all beings are, I vow to save them all.
However inexhaustible my delusions are, I vow to extinguish them all.
However immeasurable dharma teachings are, I vow to master them all.
However endless the Buddha's Way is, I vow to follow it.
I also started this thread a while back with the very same question. Meido shared some excellent resources:
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-amida-butsu. -- Ippen

If in your heart you hold the thought, "I shall continue to utter the nembutsu," the Buddha will turn his attention to you, and thus you are one among those who are thought about and cherished. -- Master Hōnen

The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have unobstructed vision in all directions. Everything is in their presence; and I stand in front of them. -- Shantideva, Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life

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