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4. Chanting and Meditating

      when the Buddha was alive, his disciples could listen to him preach and extol the virtues of the Dhamma everyday. However, after the Buddha passed away from this world, his disciples had to revise the Dhamma themselves through the practice of chant­ing and meditation.

Vatta means things that one should do.

      To perform Vatta means to chant in and pay homage to the Triple Gem; the Buddha, the Dhamma, and Sangha.In order to reap the full benefits of this chanting, monks must envision that they are in the presence of Lord Buddha himself. As you chant, your mind will clear and be open to receive merit. Your thoughts, speech, and action will not be led astray by temptation.

      Performing Vatta serves constantly to remind us of the vir­tues of the Triple Gem, frees our mind for the merits that we will receive, and strengthens our faith. Once you strengthen your faith over and over again, you will be instilled with a strong desire to do good and make merit.

      Chanting also serves the purpose of chanting the teachings of the Buddha and aloud-a way of memorizing the records of the Buddha's sermons found in the Pali Canon. For example, the Dhamacakkapavattana Sutta was the sermon that the Buddha gave to his first five disciples.

      The Aditaya Sutta comes from the sermon that Lord Buddha gave to three holy men from another religion, and because of that sermon, the three became Buddhist Arahants.

      Chanting should be done both morning and evening in order to constantly strengthen one's faith in a concrete way. For this reason, people in the ancient times, both lay people and monks alike, viewed chanting as an essential part of daily life.

      After the second Sacking of Ayuddhaya, the city was com­pletely burnt by the Burmese resulting in the destruction of religious documents and the Pali Canon. Nevertheless, our forefa­thers were able to reproduce the Pali Canon exactly as it was before, because the entire text had been ingrained in the minds of the monks through daily chanting. It is because of this that we have these religious texts to study for our present and future benefits.

 

The Benefits of chanting

1.  Clarity of mind and mental focus while chanting

2.  Promotion of a spirit of unity among those chanting

3.  Helping to preserve tradition and to promote community spirit

4.  Helping to preserve and pass on the teachings of Lord Buddha

5.  Helping to improve self-confidence

6.  Helping to cure stuttering, because Pali chanting employs long vowel sounds that are easily to pronounce, and when these basic notes are chanted, they come from the centre of your body.

      Meditating is a form of mental exercise for attaining Dhammakaya (the ultimate body of Truth), or enlightenment. Those who practice often and meditate daily will have clarity of mind and a heightened sense of mindfulness towards all things around them. Once you have a mind that is kind and sensitive, you will have a mind that is strong and unwavering against obstacles and tribulations.

      The human mind is like a muscle^ if you sprain or over exert it, it will be tight and cramped. The energy flow will be stunted. A healthy muscle must be soft, firm and flexible. Take the rubber band on a slingshot for example, If it is dry and tight, it can break or not be of much use. However, if it is flexible, then it can indeed be a powerful tool. The human mind is the same. The more soft and gentle it is, the more powerful it will be in tackling life's tasks and duties successfully. Whereas, the stubborn mind will encounter hardship, feel despair, anger, and frustration. There­fore it is hard to succeed in life with such a state of mind.

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