Modern lives are quite stressful, owing to the multitude of tasks that one has to perform. Though there are many inventions to ease daily life, the irony is that our lives are still cluttered. As such, people have been resorting to the traditional means to find peace. Of these, Buddhist Chanting has become quite popular as these help clear the mind and relieve stress. Here in this article, we will be discussing Buddhist chanting, its origin, and how it can effectively tackle the stress and chaos of today’s life.

History of Chanting in Buddhism

Chanting is one of the oldest rituals in Buddhism. It helps in clearing the mind and preparing it for meditation. The chantings carry the blessings of Buddha. As such, they transcend the mind, quieten fears, and can help you cope with hardships. It carries the blessings of Buddha. To the person who chants, the musical incantations help feel the wisdom, compassion, and serenity of the Buddha.

 

Buddhist mantra chanting is a part of the prayers at the Buddhist monasteries. Chanting is a daily ritual for Buddhist monks, however, it can be performed by anyone who wishes to overcome anxiety and stress. As a daily ritual, Buddhist chanting can be practiced by any believer of Buddhism. To fully understand Buddhist prayer chanting, it is important to know about the history of chanting in Buddhism.

History of Chanting in Buddhism​

From the very start of Buddhism, chanting has been one of its core practices. It prepares the mind for meditation and ultimately nirvana (salvation). Buddhism in India truly began at Sarnath, the holy pilgrimage site where the Buddha gave his first sermon. To spread the word of the Buddha to the masses, his disciples started chanting. Originally, chanting and recitation were ways to help memorize Buddha’s teachings and strengthen the commitment to the teachings. The practice became a Buddhist monastic ritual that can be found to date.

 

Once the history of chanting is understood, the next step is to understand the purpose of Buddhist chanting.

Purpose of Chanting in Buddhism

Buddhism is considered more of a philosophy than a religion. It is a way of life, as such, the Buddhist rituals have a practical approach and meaning. Buddhist chanting is a great way to release stress. Most Buddhists perform chanting as a daily routine as it helps in leading a balanced life.

 

According to Buddhism, ‘Buddha’ refers to an awakened soul who has reached salvation and the Buddha is a representation of the human mind. As he has attained enlightenment, he has reached his full potential, with wisdom, understanding, and other virtues. Hence, we can say that individual can become a Buddha when one reaches full potential. Chants clear the mind for meditation and introduce meaning and purpose into one’s life. Buddhist mantra chanting creates a sense of connectedness with Buddha’s teachings of the middle path. Chants also help remember the qualities of the Buddha, while going about our daily lives. Buddhism believes that heaven is the mind itself when the mind is free from distractions and problems. Chants clear the mind and create a heavenly feeling.

 

Many traditional schools of Buddhism practice Buddhist chanting in Pali, the language of the historical Buddha. The Zen and Theravada schools of Buddhism practice chanting as preparation for seated meditation. The Mahayana Buddhism schools believe that chanting connects with oneself and ultimately the Buddha.

Understanding the practice of Buddhist Chanting

Chanting is a ritual that needs practice. Buddhism is a religion that believes to free Buddhists of bonds and guides the way to ultimate salvation. One can easily add the ritual of Buddhist chanting in their daily schedule. Few minutes of chanting and one can gain patience, understanding, and wisdom.

Buddhist chants comprise of musical verse and incantations. Beginners may require conscious effort to chant. One needs to memorize a chant, learn the right tone and tempo. But with practice, there is a lesser need of conscious effort. Slowly with practice, chanting provides a greater sense of peace, letting go fear and tension.

It slowly becomes the art of clearing the mind, learning patience, empathy, and other virtues that lead to the path of gaining wisdom of the Buddha.

Buddhist Chanting is a form of worship. Monks chant in a melodious monotone that stirs deep within. While there are some chants with prayer beads, there are others with bells and other instruments. Most of the chants are the preparation for meditation. The repeating of the mantras resonates with the breath, heartbeat, and brain. One can easily add this simple ritual to daily life which can have a profound effect and change your lives for the better.

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