There is much to be said in favor of chanting. Just as ancient seers ("rishis") in India preserved the Books of Sacred Knowledge ("Vedas"), so Buddhist monks preserved the Dharma by memorizing, studying, and reciting the sutras. There was soon no necessity to preserve them that way with the advent of writing them down (first on palm leaves in Sri Lanka then on other media as they spread beyond India). But to preserve the living tradition, monks have continued to learn, recite, practice, teach (Dharma), and deliver them as sermons ("bhana") through chanting. Americans have joined Asian practitioners, and many chants are now done in English. One practice that originated in Japan, Soka Gakkai (SGI) or "Tina Turner chanting" ("Nam myoho renge kyo") is the fastest growing. Unlike most forms of Buddhism, it draws in large numbers of African- and Hispanic-American practitioners. SGI promises material wealth more than spiritual fulfillment. But the point is not lost. Chants (as in the yogic practice of "japa" or Christian-mystic practice of prayer) are meant to reduce discursive thinking and bring peace of mind. The second video is an example of ancient Sri Lankan Theravada Buddhist PALI (the language closest to the Magadhi the Buddha spoke) and modern American English chanting.
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