On Tuesday, April 25, 2006 Susan wrote:

> Who knows, it [chanting] might even make more sense in a language you
> know! :)

Actually that's a very insightful statement.  Chanting is not meant to 'make
sense'.  'Nonsense' syllables are the best - like 'OM' or 'MU'*.  A foreign
language is second best.    Chanting is not done in order for you to
contemplate of the words you're chanting, or figuring out what the phrase
you're chanting means.  Chanting is done, like most everything else in zen
practice, to develop a single focus which more easily allows the notion of
'self' to drop away.  Chanting in a language you know, especially groups of
words that communicate a coherent thought can interfere with this.

*I know 'MU' is not really a nonsense syllable, but if you don't know the
Japanese language, and have not been polluted by reading books or hearing
talks about what 'Mu' is supposed to mean, then it is nonsense and is a
great chanting syllable - both done verbally or silently.


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