Chinese Buddhist Monastic Chants

Series: Oral Traditions  Publisher: A-R Editions
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Chinese Buddhist Monastic Chants

Edited by Pi-yen Chen

OT008 Chinese Buddhist Monastic Chants
978-0-89579-672-1 Full Score + CD (2010) 9x12, x + 165 pp. + CD
In stock
Liturgical chants, the most pervasive traditional elements in religious life, provide a sense of historical continuity for Chinese Buddhists. The rituals currently practiced by Chinese Buddhist monastic communities date from the North and South Dynasties (AD 220–589). Today a huge repertory of Chinese Buddhist chants exists, with various styles, techniques, and functions. These chants, along with their corresponding rites, have to be reenacted every day, every month, or every year. Liturgies thus constitute the core of religious experience for monastic communities, and they serve to embody the ideals of monastic practice, such as spirituality and communal harmony. A common feature shared by all Chinese Buddhist liturgies is that their ritual process has no verbal command. Instead, instrumental cues and chanting style, which divide ritual passages and dictate actions, lead the participants as they engage in liturgical performance. Several types of liturgical books provide written guidelines for performing congregational Buddhist chants, but none includes melodic notation; rhythm and instrumental operations are the only prescribed musical elements. The melodies are thus conveyed from generation to generation through oral transmission, and this process greatly strengthens the sense of unity among Chinese Buddhists despite local and temporal variations in practice.
This volume is intended to serve a broad audience: the general reader, Buddhist monastic members, Chinese Buddhists, music scholars, and Buddhist scholars. It presents Chinese Buddhist chants of various liturgies, styles, functions, and techniques in the course of three chapters. Chapter 1 provides fundamental information about the chant tradition, including early chant categories, contemporary liturgies, instruments, notation, performance, and modern conceptual transformations. Chapter 2 explicates the musical attributes and ritual functions of chants through a detailed commentary on nine contemporary stylistic forms of Chinese Buddhist liturgical chants. Chapter 3 explores the liturgy of the daily service in conjunction with a complete facsimile, demonstrating the liturgical logic and religious sentiment of Chinese Buddhism. Audio recordings that supplement the historical and analytical discussions are provided on an accompanying MP3 compact disk.
Zhunti Dharani
Praise to Qielan
Praise to Bhaisajyaguru Buddha
Baoding zan
Hua fengxian
The Gatha of Washing the [Statue of the] Buddha
Vowing Gatha of the Great Transference of Merit
Yuanxiao sanzhang zhu fannao
Antiphonal Invocation of Sakyamuni Buddha
The Three Refuges
Praise to Weituo