Chanting is an important practice in all Buddhist traditions, and is often done before commencing meditation. Focusing on recollecting and chanting the words in time has a calming and collecting affect upon the mind, so that meditators often find that the mind becomes peaceful more easily after a session. It is often done as a devotional practice, giving rise to the joyful quality of faith or as a contemplation leading the mind to peace. I was motivated to produce this resource in order to help practitioners remember their faith and meditation practice – that is, to encourage people, who often live in bustling cities, to turn inwards and find a peaceful refuge within. The chanting presented here was recorded in a studio, with music added later by a friend. Although not quite as polished a production as we might have liked, I do hope that some of you will discover what a precious supplement chanting can be to the practice of meditation.
At the request of several close students who had enjoyed and benefitted from previous 'Devotional Chanting with Music' projects, I agreed to embark upon another series, this time in collaboration with Christopher Conway.
With improvements in digital recording device technology I was able to record chanting in Anandagiri's Dhamma Hall when I felt especially inspired... then simply send the file along to Chris without ever even stepping into a studio! (Which some people might feel inappropriate for a Buddhist monk) Chris is a multi-instrumentalist as well as a digital music producer, so he was perfectly capable of taking a raw voice file and adding layers of suitable music to produce a natural sounding chant with an enigmatic 'soundscape.'
These chants with soundscape have been presented and offered here as a supplement to a traditional chanting practice, but not as a replacement. I feel that they can be helpful during potentially stressful situations such as while being stuck in traffic jams, or to assist in placing one's mind in a happier state after a particularly stressful day at work. (or even while convalescing with some serious illness or injury when more traditional chanting might not be an option.) Many people have used the previous chants in similar ways already.
Sometimes hearing qualities like faith, devotion, gratitude, or love and respect in another's voice can incline our hearts to resonate in similar ways. These are the qualities I have tried to communicate in the chanting. My own love, respect and gratitude for Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha... as well as for the Bodhisattas, or future Buddhas. Like any artistic endeavor inevitably some people will appreciate these chants with music and some will not. They are offered here as a gift, which you may freely choose to make use of or not. Certainly I hope that you may find them uplifting and helpful.
With Metta and every best wish...