Posted in Buddhism, Buddhist community activities, Buddhist Culture, Chinese culture, Dharma Talks, Precepts Holders

Answering questions in Messenger: A Modern Sangha Western Chinese Bhikshuni

Buddhist Laity: Can you tell me why chanting is good to do?

Master: It helps you to balance your emotions. Then you can correct your thinking.

Buddhist Laity: Yes, I felt really calm with chanting today. So why do we dedicate the merit?

Master: So we keep our perspective and open opportunity for real assistance when needed.

We (You) give the assistance. Btw in those dedications in Chinese there is no “we”; it’s in command form implied “I”. Western translations that use “we or ours” are misinterpreting the original intent. It’s from the Christian perspective to use “we”; a common style in Christian liturgy.

Buddhist Laity: I’ve always dedicated merit but never asked why. Weird eh?
Master: Hardly anyone asks and very few have an answer for that question.
The whole service in temples is in command form “I” implied in non-English languages like Sanskrit, Pali, and Chinese. In English bits and pieces use plural and distorts the meaning.

Buddhist Laity: That’s interesting.

Master: Yep, that’s from my experience as translator.

Buddhist Laity: So it is an individual accountability rather than the collective?

Master: No. It’s individual practice with a group. Self-growth is most important focus and not accountability to a group or a leader. Group is for mutual support. So you don’t feel alone.

Some laity get their 5 precept robes in a knot when you can’t keep up or you are late but really that’s their issue not yours.

Chanting the sutras in the services links us to the ancient practice of “chanting sutras” that Sangha has done since Buddha passed. Sangha (meaning Bhikshuni, Bhikshu) still chant sutras.

Buddhist Laity: Thank you very much. I need to write this in a notebook. I think I need to start reviewing.


I am a Bhikshuni ordained in Mahayana Chinese Buddhist tradition. I'm currently translating Vinaya sutras from the Chinese Mahayana Tripitaka.

Leave a Reply after reading Comment Rules

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s