The Importance Of Chanting In Buddhism

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The diversity seen in East Asian musical styles is so drastic that many styles are incomparable to each other. There are obvious similarities, of course, like their instruments being similar to another in shape, material, overall sound, and usage. But be that as it may, it's difficult to find a common thread between these few specific countries in regards to classical music, with the exception of the droning, and usually repetitive, vocalization of mantras. Chants are spoken or sung words on one or two pitches. Despite the fact that Merriam-Webster defines music as “vocal, instrumental, or mechanical sounds having rhythm, melody, or harmony”, and that chanting is sufficient in being both vocal and rhythmic, it is still controversial whether…show more content…
While still following a similar Buddhist lifestyle, the Japanese believe in a variation of Mahayana Buddhism, called Zen Buddhism that focuses mainly on meditation. Despite popular belief, Zen Buddhism is not a religion, but instead a “practical application.” Contrary to Chinese practices, Japanese Zen is not an agent for moral growth but alternatively, focuses on a peaceful mind. One of the biggest aspects of Zen Buddhism is meditation. Teachers of Zen believe that chanting is a catalyst for the deep self-discovery and inward experience that is meditation, and even occasionally an impetus for enlightenment. The understanding of chanting in relationship to Zen comes after grasping what meditation is on its own. A totally calm mind from a complete release of thoughts, a completely relaxed physical feeling, and a hyper-awareness of the body and mind’s current state: that is meditation. Chanting encourages successful meditation by allowing the participant to submit to the rhythmic patterns of the chants and to produce sounds without feeling it necessary to attempt to decipher what they mean and why they are saying them. By allowing an individual to be submersed in something outside of themselves, it allows them to dive deeper into this meditative state. While internal focus is important, the Japanese believe that chanting is as much an opportunity to connect as a community and learn to embrace others as it is to learn about yourself. Group chanting sessions are common in monasteries and classes in Japan. Each person has their own journey, but no one will ever get anywhere alone; Zen Buddhist chanting promotes this group

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