This past week Moysho, and Seigetsu, members of the Silent Thunder Order, spoke of chanting as a practice. So immediately, what is practice, and what is chanting? Our Zen Practice is on-going-ess. It is "expressing-experience-expressing." It is resonance. Chanting is a wellingforth of sound with specific tones and rhythm.
In prehistory, I imagine people were tonal conscious in the dark.
Sounds evoked assurance or fear, as sounds do today. Imagine further, that people would imitate sounds of that assured things were okay, and fear by invoking homage to that sound. Such beliefs conjure spirituality.
Sound, tone, harmony used as shield or sword erupts through the voices. Collective voices of expression bring us closer. Chanting builds togetherness. Chanting, praying, responsive reading, and singing are harmonious cousins-refuge
Chanting was a meme for learning before writing. Work chants kept a pace and execution of acts to benefit the collective. War chants fostered courage. Common prayer was reassuring. Grief and joy as wailing or laughing are part of our recitations.
A vital aspect of chanting is listening well. Listening opens us to experience even if we do not know the words or their meaning. Sometimes we hum.
On Tuesday night, October 13, 2020, the Falmouth Soto Zen Sangha will be choral and mostly acapella. Come and get your chanting on. Who knows,"...even in a hundred thousand million kalpas," could be present on Tuesday night...