English sutra-chanting assembly in the Chinese new year

From:Voice of Longquan     Author:Voice of Longquan     Time:2018-04-09 08:50:53
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A Dharma brother shared his experience of English sutra-chanting assembly.

During the time of this Chinese New Year, Beijing Longquan Monastery hosted an English sutra-chanting assembly in Xiaochantang (Small Chanting Hall). The first five days were arranged for chanting the Saddharma-pundarika Sutra, and the sixth day for chanting the Bhaisajyaguru-sutra and Diamond Sutra, which were added as an extra favor for the ones who are lucky enough to join the chanting. 

Venerable Master Xiancong took the lead, and more than 10 Dharma-masters participated in our chanting, which was a special surprise for us indeed. 


This English sutra-chanting was not a schedule activity. Actually the Dharma-masters could do it in the residential area of the Sangha, where they have much better surroundings and more comfortable rooms. But they hold it in Small Chanting Hall instead. This is not a deed in favor of themselves, whereas an action to benefit others. 

No one will do so without a heart full of mercy and compassion. The Dharma-masters have to spend about 10 minutes on the way to and fro, 10 minutes for preparations and another 10 minutes for sorting out. If it is not for us, they could save all this time and use it on practicing by themselves, which is much easier and more worthy to them. 

Even so, the Dharma-masters cherish time dearly and will not waste one minute of their life. Even the time of walking on the way is used for practice. As far as I could see, the masters wish to get the following result, one is to show the virtue of the monks to the commoners, the other is for practicing walking meditation, silently, but meaningfully.


The Dharma masters not only chant sutras in English with us, but also shared their own experiences in doing so, which is :

1.Read the sutras with solemn  and respectful mind
2.Fix the sight on the words, try to see every letters of the words clearly. 
3.Concentrate the hearing on the sound, try to hear every syllable clearly.

4.Do not think about the meaning of the English words. It will be in your mind when time is due. 

I chanted sutras accordingly and got a very good result. My mind became more and more concentrated, and my brain was clear all the time. 

This is not only the skills in reading English, but also an effective method in practicing meditative concentration. If we keep on doing so, our mind will become more and more powerful in fixing on the present moment and on the things we are doing, the result of which is that our mind will be developed and our steps to nirvana will be quickened. 


The Dharma-masters cared for us, and praised us if we made even the smallest advance in our practice. Here is the story. 

During the course, I was lucky enough to take the responsibility to invite the masters to the site of sutra-chanting from their residential area and escort them back. One day, after entering into the residential building, venerable master Xiancong stopped and said to us: “Today your way of walking is better than before”.

Yes, indeed. Because Dharma-brother Li Yuancheng and I discussed about it, we noticed that all the masters in the monastery are walking in straight lines, and when they make a turn, it is all angles of 90 degrees, not short-cut it as we commoners, and we did accordingly that day and the masters immediately noticed it. This shows how deep concerns the masters have for us. 

I said to myself, I would transfer what I have learned and what I have got from this Dharma assembly to the fellow-practitioners in our Buddhism-studying group in Tianjin, so that they might share the same understanding and happiness with me.  I am sure it will inspire more and more fellow practitioners to join us in the future. 


I enjoy sutra chanting for several years. I had the experience of chanting sutras at home by myself, chanting sutras with the Dharma masters on YY platform, and chanting sutras on site with the Dharma masters as we did during the Chinese New Year. There are big differences among these three ways. The first way is good, but it is easy to be disturbed. I will be stopped by an unknown word or by a knock on the door, etc. The second way is better, still not so satisfactory as it does not have the benefits mentioned below. The third way, on-site-chanting is the best, because it has the following advantages. 

1.The Buddha and Bodhisattvas are caring and helping us, the guards of the temple are protecting us, so that no random could affect or break the course of the chanting.
2.It will be much more solemn when the sandal-wood is burned, a scent smell will fill the room, which will bring all members present into a holy state of mind.    
3.With the Dharma masters sitting above, and the fellow kind-hearted persons around, one could follow the text correctly, even if there do be mistakes, they will be corrected right there. 
4.The karmic power will be greater, so that the wandering mind or other mind could not find their way to break into our heart. 

5.It will be easier for one to concentrate on the chanting and catch the true meaning of the sutra.

In the end, the Dharma masters made dedication to all the beings and for us all, which included three parts: the relatives passed away; the relatives who fall ill; the family members. 

The summing-up meeting was held in the last afternoon, and everybody shared what they have learned in the assembly. 

A mind of supreme bliss emerged in me after the chanting, which was quite different from the so-called happiness in the mundane world. It could not be expressed in words, but I did feel it. It had created a power in my mind which pushed me to follow the Dharma-masters’ way of doing even if I am alone at home. I felt the power all these days in the monastery. I feel it now, and I am sure I will feel it forever. 

In the end, I do pray this English sutra-chanting assembly will be continued in the years to come, and be kept as a repertoire of our monastery. 

Editor:Maggie
Tags:sutra chanting, Chinese new year, advantages of on-site-chanting

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