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Art Of Ancient Buddhist Chant (Paritta)

Sakyamuni, the sage of Sakyas, as a youthful and vigorous searcher of truth, realized the underlying cause of this fundamental social problem and his understanding of the reality finally led him to retire to the forest as if mendicants in other religious traditions who also retired to the forest for the search of a remedy to the social problems they might also have experienced. After six years of his vigorous search for freedom from social problem in a deep forest habitation, Sakyamuni Buddha discovered a way out to it through his own persisting perseverance in meditation and finally, he assured the remedy and eased up social/human problems. Thus, Sakyamuni Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, made a great contribution to humankind by revealing his discovery of universal remedy to social beings.

The remedy is found only in the discourses of the Buddha delivered at different places to people of various social backgrounds who were hungry for the remedy. In these sutras, Sakyamuni Buddha, as an all time psychotherapist, proclaimed that the fundamental problem of the
humankind is "discomfort or stress." That is to say that the social beings were/are not happy with anything and it leads them to the state of misery, insecurity and fear. Even though the individuals are constantly struggling to get to the state of security and serenity through material things, something is constantly triggering the individuals that they are not psychologically assured to be secured through materialism. Despite the fact that the social beings would constantly attempt to experience an instantaneous happiness by any means i. e., through gratification of the five basic sense organs. While there cannot be guaranteed to have stability of sensual pleasures, which are under constant change, the social beings are threatened of losing such pleasures and people dear to them.

Likewise, the life of the modern social being has become so hectic along with advancement of knowledge in science and technology causing the already existing human problem to snowball, because of rushing for something the life has become more complicated and miserable than it has been ever before. Today, along with advancement of scientific knowledge, the life has become so techno-centric in the man-made-world of technosphere and there can be seen thorough disconnection from the ecosphere, a natural world which has the nature of generating happiness in social beings through the principles of simplicity.

The technocentric world seems to have led the individual to more self-centred state and it has therefore resulted in stress, tension, fear, insecurity which have become parts and parcels of social beings shattering life in the twenty first century.

To ease up the fear and to uproot self-centredness, the practitioners of Buddhism employ the ancient therapeutic chant as a daily practice. Buddhist Chant, an ancient particular art among many others, is a systematized technique developed within the Buddhist religious tradition so as to slow down mental activities and to develop mental purity, a state of mind free of mental corruptions. This may be, in fact, traced back to the time period of Sakyamuni Buddha himself who admonished monks, as a collective social group, to congregate in an assembly hall twice a month in order to chant monastic rules together to develop mental purity as a necessary spiritual value to maintain a peaceful life of a monk. By this time, there had been developed multifarious soothing techniques by the ancient Indian society and there had been gatherings to chant religious hymns for spiritual feelings. Sakyamuni Buddha certainly employed and adapted the ancient Indian religious chant of times which according to popular belief helped sooth stress and hence, was held to be of therapeutic value. Next>>

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