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YI Blog 7

Music plays a large role in the religion of Buddhism. Most Buddhist practices involve chant in some form, and some also make use of instrumental music and even dance. Music can act as an offering to the Buddha, as a means of memorizing Buddhist texts, and as a form of personal cultivation or meditation. Music is mentioned throughout Buddhist writings such as “The Amitabha Sutra”, the scripture mentions how heavenly singing and chanting can be heard in the Pure Land, as mandarava flowers softly rain down from the sky. In the Pure Land, one can always hear birds making beautiful, harmonious music. Animated by a gentle breeze, the movements of jewel trees ring out in melodious chords, as if thousands of gentle tunes are being performed in harmony. Upon hearing their song, those present naturally recollect the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. In another Buddhist text, the “Great Perfection of Wisdom Treatise”, states that “For bodhisattvas to purify the Buddha land, they seek out beautiful music, wishing that sentient beings in that land can hear the music and soften their hearts, making them easier to transform. This is why music is given as an offering to the Buddha.” Music is very important to the religion of Buddhism as is shown how it is mentioned several times throughout its scriptures and writing. Music plays a variety of roles such as calming one’s mind and allowing the disciples to open their hearts to the teaching of Buddha. The chant/music of Buddhism is very synchronized. Each chant performed by the disciple are in sync and performed in a similar vocal tone. The chat starts off with a chime from a bell, the sound of the bell starts off loud and clear and then starts to gradually fade. We can also hear a drum-like instrument behind the voice being hit while the chant is being performed. Occasionally we hear a bell-like instrument ringing behind the voices. This music expresses religious belief because it incorporates the chant of the mantras. Instead of using lyrics, the Buddhists incorporate mantras so that they are able to memorize and better understand them. 

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June 2024

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