Chants and Mantras

Before Zazen:

This is a standard opening (in Pali) for many Buddhist centres around the world.

We honour "The Blessed One", "The Worthy One" and "The Perfectly Self-Enlightened One".

We chant...

Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammā sambuddhassa

Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammā sambuddhassa

Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammā sambuddhassa



After Zazen:

We chant "The Great Perfection of Wisdom - Heart Sutra"

Chanting the Sutra

The Heart Sutra is chanted directly after Zazen. Its the shortest and the most popular sutra in Buddhism, it is regarded as the most concise summation of Buddhist teaching. The Heart Sutra expresses perfectly the insight attained by non-attachment, the doctrine of emptiness. Many Buddhist sects recite a shortened chant version of the Heart Sutra regularly.

The shortened version chanted at Silky Oak Zen is as follows......

Audio version

Accompanying text. Grey is for lower pitch voice and Yellow for upper pitch voice

We chant....

Maha-Prajna-Paramita-Hridaya Sutra   

Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, when practicing deeply the Prajna Paramita, 
Perceived that all five skandhas are empty 
And is saved from all suffering and distress. 
Shariputra, form does not differ from emptiness; 
Emptiness does not differ from form. 
That which is form is emptiness; 
That which is emptiness form. 
The same is true of feelings, perceptions, impulses, consciousness. 
Shariputra, all dharmas are marked with emptiness. 
They do not appear or disappear, are not tainted or pure, 
Do not increase or decrease. 
Therefore in emptiness: no form, no feelings, perceptions, impulses, consciousness; 
No eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; 
No colour, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no object of mind; 
No realm of eyes and so forth until no realm of mind-consciousness;
No ignorance and also no extinction of it and so forth until no old-age and death 
And also no extinction of it; 
No suffering, no origination, no stopping, no path, 
No cognition, also no attainment.
With nothing to attain the bodhisattva depends on Prajna Paramita
And their mind is no hindrance. Without any hindrance no fears exist. 
Far apart from every perverted view they dwell in nirvana. 
In the three worlds all Buddhas depend on Prajna Paramita 
And attain anuttara-samyaksambodhi.
Therefore, know that Prajna Paramita is the great transcendent mantra, 
Is the great bright mantra, is the utmost mantra, 
Is the supreme mantra, which is able to relieve all suffering and is true not false; 
So proclaim the Prajna Paramita mantra, proclaim the mantra, which says: 

Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha.
Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha.
Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha.


On alternate weeks we recite:

Hakuin's Song of Zazen

From the beginning all beings are Buddha.
Like water and ice, without water no ice, outside us no Buddhas. 
How near the truth, yet how far we seek. 
Like one in water crying, "I thirst!" 
Like the son of a rich man wand'ring poor on this earth we endlessly circle the six worlds. 
The cause of our sorrow is ego delusion. 
From dark path to dark path we've wandered in darkness, 
how can we be freed from the wheel of samsara? 
The gateway to freedom is zazen Samadhi. 
Beyond exaltation, beyond all our praises the pure Mahayana. 
Observing the Precepts, Repentance and Giving, 
the countless good deeds and the Way of Right Living, all come from zazen. 
Thus one true Samadhi extinguishes evils. It purifies karma, dissolving obstructions. 
Then where are the dark paths to lead us astray? 
The Pure Lotus Land is not far away. 
Hearing this truth, heart humble and grateful. 
To praise and embrace it, to practice its Wisdom, 
brings unending blessings. bring mountains of merit. 
And if we turn inward and prove our True Nature, that 
True Self is no-self, our own self is no-self, we go beyond ego and past clever words. 
Then the gate to the oneness of cause-and-effect is thrown open. 
Not two and not three, straight ahead runs the Way. 
Our form now being no-form, in going and returning we never leave home. 
Our thought now being no-thought, our dancing and songs are the Voice of the Dharma. 
How vast is the heaven of boundless Samadhi! 
How bright and transparent the moonlight of wisdom! 
What is there outside us? What is there we lack? 
Nirvana is openly shown to our eyes. 
This earth where we stand is the pure lotus land! 
And this very body, the body of Buddha.





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