Japanese priest chanting

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BBC source

Jul 19, 2020
Martin Goodson

Audio Course: Learning to Chant

This is an online course designed to allow participants to learn to chant the Heart of Great Wisdom Sutra and the Four Great Bodhisattva Vows

How to chant?

Why do we chant? What do we chant? How do we chant? This talk explains the basic concepts of chanting.

What is the meaning of the chants?

A talk on the Heart of Great Wisdom and Four Vows.

The Heart Sutra & Four Vows chants

The Heart Sutra may be the most recited Buddhist text in the world. ... The Heart Sutra is chanted by many different schools of Mahayana Buddhism.

Heart Sutra & Four Vows chanting without signals

Heart Sutra & Four Vows chanting with signals

Translations of these two Heart Sutra chants:

THE HEART SUTRA

MA-KA HAN-NYA HA-RA-MI-TA SHIN-GYO

KAN-JI-ZAI BO-SA GYO JIN HAN-NYA HA-RA-MI-TA JI SHO-KEN GO-UN KAI DU DO IS-SAI KU YAKU

SHA-RI-SHI SHIKI FU-I KU KU FU-I SHIKI SHIKI SHO-KU ZE KU KU SO-KU ZE SHI-KI JU SO GYO

SHI-KI YA-KU BU NYO ZE SHA-RI-SHI ZE SHO-HO KU-SO FU-SHO FU-METSU FU-KU FU-JO FU-ZO

FU-GEN ZE KO KU-CHU MU-SHI-KI MU JU SO GYO SHI-KI MU GEN NI BI ZES-SHIN-I MU SHI-KI

SHO KO MI SO-KU HO MU-GENKAI NAI-SHI MU-I-SHIKI-KAI MU-MU-MYO YA-KU MU-MU-MYO-JIN

NAI-SHI MU-RO-SHI YA-KU MU-RO SHIJ-IN MU KU SHU METSU DO MU CHI YA-KU MU TOKU I MU-

SHO TOK-KO BO-DAI-SAT-TA E HAN-NYA HA-RA-MI-TA KO SHIN MU-KEI-GE MU-KEI-GE KO MU U

KU FU ON-RI IS-SAI TEN-DO MU-SO KU-GYO NE HAN SAN-ZE SHO-BUTSU E HAN-NYA HA-RA-MI-

TA KO TOKU A NOKU TA-RA SAM-MYA-KU SAM-BO-DAI KO-CHI HAN-NYA HA-RA-MI-TA ZE DAI-JIN-

SHU ZE DAI-MYO-SHU ZE MU-JO-SHU ZE MU-TO-DO-SHU NO JO IS-SAI KU SHIN JIT-SU FU-KO KO

SETSU HAN-NYA HA-RA-MI-TA SHU SOKU SETSU SHU WATSU GYA-TEI GYA-TEI HA-RA-GYA-TEI

HARA-SO-GYA-TEI BO JI SO-WA-KA HAN-NYA SHIN-GYO.

THE FOUR GREAT BODHISATTVA VOWS

SHU-JO MU-HEN SEI-GAN-DO

BON-NO MU-JIN SEI-GAN-DAN

HOMON MU-RYO SEI-GAN-GAKU

BUTSU-DO MU-JO SEI-GAN-JO

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THE HEART OF GREAT WISDOM SUTRA

When the Bodhisattva Avalokitsvara practiced the profound Great Wisdom Gone Beyond (prajna paramita) he clearly saw that the Five Aggregates (skandha) are all empty and thus passed beyond suffering.

Oh Sariputra, form is not different from emptiness, emptiness is not different from form. Form is emptiness, emptiness is form. The same applies also to feeling or sensation, perception mental configurations and consciousness. Oh Sariputra, all things (dharmas) are in themselves empty, neither coming to be nor ceasing to be, neither pure nor impure, neither increasing nor decreasing. Thus within emptiness there is no form, no feeling or sensation, no perception, no mental configurations, no consciousness. Within emptiness there is no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; there is no field of seeing, of hearing, of smelling, of tasting, of touching, no field of consciousness. Within emptiness there is no delusion nor extinction of delusion and so on (through the twelve links of the Chain of Dependent Causation) to old age and death, nor extinction of old age and death. Within emptiness there is no suffering, no cause of suffering , no end of suffering and no way to the end of suffering. Within emptiness there is no knowledge, nor any attainment either, and nothing that can be attained. The Bodhisattva relies on the Great Wisdom Gone Beyond and so his heart is free of hindrances. Because his heart is free of hindrances, he is free of fear. Going beyond all error and delusion, he enters final Nirvana. All past, present and future Buddhas rely on the Great Wisdom Gone Beyond and so attain to Perfect and Complete Awakening.

Know therefore that the Great Wisdom Gone Beyond is the Great Mantra, the Wisdom Mantra which is supreme and peerless, and delivers from all suffering. It is true, not vain, therefore I proclaim the Mantra of the Great Wisdom Gone Beyond and I proclaim it thus: GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODHI SVAHA! (Gone, Gone, Gone Beyond, Gone altogether Beyond, Enlightenment Fulfilled.)

THE FOUR GREAT VOWS

Sentient beings are numberless, I vow to benefit them all.

The afflicting passions are inexhaustible, I vow to end them all.

The Dharma teaching are manifold, I vow to learn them all.

The Buddha Way is supreme, I vow to go it to the end.

Text and translations are from ‘The Daily Devotional Chants of the Zen Centre’ pub. The Buddhist Society, London 2008.