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Art Of Ancient Buddhist Chant (Paritta)

THE POWER Of TRUTH
The content of the Ancient Buddhist Chant was invariably Buddha's own Teaching (Dharma), usually his own discourses to his disciples along with sepetatone benedictions through the intercession of the power of the Truth or the Enlightened One. It is mentioned in the Buddhist literature that people from various religious traditions sought benedictions from Sakyamuni Buddha, who became known as a healer, at different times when people encountered misfortunes and when they were scared of invisible evil forces. For example, the royal family and the people of the Kingdom, when stricken by menacing epidemics, sought protection and blessings from Sakyamuni Buddha who later asked his personal attendant, Ananda, upon the request from the royal family, to chant the Discourse on Jewels by sprinkling water around the city of Visala.

The Chant itself, devoid of any sensual stimuli, is intended to inspire in both the chanter and the audience total dispassion and detachment (anatta) and concentration. Usually chanted in unison by an entire congregation of Buddhist monks in "recto tone", ancient Buddhist Chant creates an impressive atmosphere of serenity and even grandeur. While no such mystical union as in the care of the Gregorian chant forms intended, its gear, earthly appeal renders one to be intensely contemplative.

The Ancient Buddhist Chant has been used for therapeutic purposes since the time of Buddha. It's no small significance that early Buddhist missionary monks sent to West by Indian Emperor, Asoka the Great came to be known as therapeutics in the Greco-Roman world.
Among the many discourses, Buddhist chant derives from three fundamental discourses, normally chosen by ancient Buddhist teachers, of Sakyamuni Buddha, the Fully Awakened One. These discourses, which contain the word of Sakyamuni Buddha, were preserved in Pali, the ancient language the Buddha spoke. The Discourse on Blessings, the Discourse on Jewels and the Discourse on Universal Goodwill are the three key discourses. These are daily recited by Buddhist monks and lay people alike for inspirational experience.



The Discourse on Blessings (Mangala Sutta from the Sutta Nipata) contains thirty-six characteristic benedictions identified by Buddha himself as being most noble and propitious. These benedictions, when recited with focused attention, advance inner peace and serene joy. The Discourse on Jewels (Ratana Sutta, another discourse from the Sutta Nipata) offers a remedial technique through contemplation on spiritual riches bestowed by the Holy Triple Gem - Buddha (Fully Awakened One), Dhamma (Doctrine) and Sangha (the community of monks and nuns). It is said that an ancient city stricken by three menacing epidemics, evil spirits, diseases and famine was saved and continued to be protected by the healing power of this discourse.

The Discourse on Universal Goodwill (Karaniya Metta Sutta, another discourse chosen from the Sutta Nipata) contains a meditative theme on universal love and compassion which during Sakyamuni Buddha's own life time came to the aid of a group of monks to continue to live in their forest habitations unhindered by fear of evil spirits. Building self-confidence and strength seem to be the primary objective of this popular Discourse on Universal Goodwill. Next>>

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