Using chants to say in English

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Using chants to say in English

Post by Feathers »

I just read the text of a beautiful chant this morning (beautiful as in I really liked what it said; I haven't heard it). With chanting, are you always meant to chant in pali, or would it be fine to simply say the words in their English translation? Are there any pros and cons either way?
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Re: Using chants to say in English

Post by appicchato »

It's (either/or, or both) entirely up to you...
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Re: Using chants to say in English

Post by mikenz66 »

Advantages of chanting in Pali:
  • You can chant with people who speak other languages.
  • You don't find yourself arguing with the text. ("Why did they pick that particular translation?") Once you have it somewhat memorised you can read the translation while you chant the Pali.
  • Pali has a nice rhythm.
  • Chanting in English can seem like being in Church.
Advantages of chanting in your native language:
  • You don't have to remember what the Pali lines mean (or read the translation at the same time as the Pali).
  • You're not playing on the conceit of being able to chant in an esoteric language.
Personally, I prefer Pali for basic things like paying homage, or taking precepts, but something more complex, such as the Karaniya Metta Sutta, is nice to do in English.

The only thing I really dislike is chanting a line of Pali, then a line of translation. The Pali chants have a nice rhythm. Some English versions, such as the one I linked above, also have a nice rhythm. But doing a line of each disrupts the flow.

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Re: Using chants to say in English

Post by dhammarelax »


Does anybody knows of a link to hear the suttas chanted in english?

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Re: Using chants to say in English

Post by Maitri »

I agree with Mike's points on Pali and English chanting. The rhythm of Pali is nice once you get comfortable with it and it's easy to memorize the English translation of most chants. Personally, I also like the format of chanting in Pali with the translation included so I can reference it later- it helps me to remember passages. But, using both Pali and English together can take forever! I tend to enjoy a mix of both both at home and in groups.

I also enjoy hearing the Suttas chanted in English. It's a very good motivator to study and practice as it connects with me more on a personal and emotional level. However, chanting in Pali is a great way to connect to the history of the Dhamma and the Buddha. So I don't think it's black and white- having a mix is a nice way to practice.

Here is the Metta Sutta chanted in English:
"Upon a heap of rubbish in the road-side ditch blooms a lotus, fragrant and pleasing.
Even so, on the rubbish heap of blinded mortals the disciple of the Supremely Enlightened One shines resplendent in wisdom." Dhammapada: Pupphavagga
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Re: Using chants to say in English

Post by Aloka »

You can listen to the UK Amaravati Monastery sangha chanting in English or Pali at this link. There's also a PDF of the Amaravati chanting book available in Pali & English. (some sutta recollections are included)

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Aloka :anjali:
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