Thursday, September 6, 2007

About the Kanzeon Sutra

The Kanzeon Sutra in the sidebar is is my favorite of all sutras. (The Karma Sutra is overrated.) If it's the only Sutra you know, then now its your favorite sutra.

It's meant to be recited in a low guttural chant. I have it up there so I remember to recite it once a day. I may get around to recording it, so that others can hear the flow.

I remember sitting in Newton with a larger Sangha, and they really weren't into it. They were kind of singing it/saying it. On top of the beautiful expression of devotion, it sounds really kickass. Often times, for American Buddhists, you are meant to lose yourself in the sounds, rather than focus on the literal meaning. Similar to Latin chanting in Catholicism I suppose. It is also good practice for the breath, which is at the core of Zen meditation. In the end, always return to the breath. Each recitation of the sutra should be recited slowly, but in a single breath, if possible without strain.

Kanzeon is the Buddha of compassion. In my best moments, I recognize Kanzeon.

Here's the translation:

One with the Buddha,
Directly Buddha,
Indirectly Buddha.
One with Buddha, Dharma, Sangha.
Joyful, pure, eternal being!
Morning mind, Kanzeon.
Evening mind, Kanzeon.
Mind of this moment, Kanzeon.
There is nothing but this.

The Buddha is the one who is enlightened - you know, the guy with the gut. The Dharma is the truth of the enlightenment and the teachings of the Buddha. The Sangha is a meeting of people who have realized the existence of the path towards enlightenment, and are committed to the practice of following the path, through right living and meditation. While they have a totally different context, they are connected inexorably, similar to Catholicism's holy trinity.

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