Reading the Air: chanting

chanting monk

Chanting is what many Buddhists call ‘practice.’ It is a concrete way of interpenetration with the Buddha, becoming one with all the Buddhas, and connecting with the world of spirits. The use of the human voice is a sacred pursuit, which Nohmen has come to realize so clearly.  Its beauty is not only to be admired as an artistic expression, singing heady Bach or backstreet Blues.

We often take our own voices for granted, speaking without thinking, and maybe hurting others in the process, or adding fuel to the fire of gossip and negative comments about others, or conveying anger, irritation or intolerance tovocal anger those around us.

Equally as with the body, the human voice is capable of a massive range of human and inhuman acts.  One voice has the capacity of rallying troops to war or massacre, and then it can appease and plead for world peace and harmony. It can abuse and destroy the confidence of others, or it can gently encourage and praise them. It can sing a lullaby to a babe, or send off the dead with wailing and lullabysobbing.  It can dialogue in isolation eliciting praise and favour from admirers, or it can slice through all the other worlds and dimensions with its absolute sincerity.  The voice is an essential and eternal part of the fabric of the universe.

Nohmen remembered and was regretful often about how reluctant he was to chant when he first started to practise. How much of a chore it was, and how he doubted its efficacy.  Like many people, he found the daily repetition occasionally tedious, tending to lose interest because there was no immediate, tangible response or reward.birdsong

It seemed to be a human trait to do things for a reward of some kind, as if our actions always need some kind of acknowledgement from a visible, or perhaps, invisible witness.  But when we chant with an open heart, and from beyond the grasping ego, we can truly connect with the Universe.  Indeed, we can ‘make bonds with the universe,’ as the Buddha put it!

Nowadays, always, Nohmen felt transformed and refreshed by contributing his voice to the frequencies of the sound Universe. His master incisively compared this sincere vocal act with the full moon, with an unblemished state, with a perfect entity, which lacks nothing.  In fact, through chanting with his deep resonant voice, Nohmen was able to run with the wind and flow with the rivers, and to build up merit steadily and unfailingly.

It is so simple to him to know that when he chants he becomes a body of energy filling the air, merging with other energies, and a part of the huge magnetic field of the universe.


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