Chanting and Recitation
Just as prostration, cirumambulation and offering are the physical expressions of one veneration for the Triple Gem, Buddhist chanting and recitation express the same through words. This is similar to singing the national anthem and reciting the pledge of allegiance before the national flag as an expression of loyalty and respect for one’s nation.
Buddhist chanting and recitation take three major forms. Firstly, words or verses may be recited in praise of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Secondly, the Buddhist may also recite the sermons of the Buddha. Thirdly, he may chant short phrases or syllables that symbolise certain teachings or qualities of the Buddha. These symbolic phrases or syllables are called Mantras. When a Buddhist chants a mantra, it help to recall either the essence of a particular teaching or a special quality of the Buddha, such as His great compassion.
Therefore, chanting and recitation are not just acts of homage to the Triple Gem. They also remind the Buddhist of the ideal qualities of the Triple Gem that he strives to achieve. Furthermore, chanting and recitation also help him to concentrate and develop a clam and peaceful state of mind.