Sharing by Eileen Dolan
There is a prayer at the end of the chanting book, “NGHI THUC LE PHAT”, which says:
“Refuge in the Sangha!
May All Sentient Beings Harmonize with One Another without Obstruction throughout the Worlds!”
On Sunday mornings when chanting with Master Bao Thanh and Su Co Bao Co, their chanting is very harmonious. Each one has their own melody, and they flow in and out with each other taking turns pausing from time to time, but together they carry the melody forward. As they chant their compassion energy flows reaching out to everyone in the ten directions. It is very beautiful, and peaceful experience.
For many, many years I have learned the Chant from Su Co. I have learned her song. The notes, and pacing, where to pause, and where to enter in from a pause. About a year ago, Master Bao Thanh recorded a number of new chants so that people could learn them. I learned these also, and when I chant along with the recordings. I am able to follow the rhythm and tones of the Master.
I have noticed lately that when I chant with the Master and Su Co, I fluctuate between one style of chant and the other. I have both songs of my teachers within me, but I have not yet found my own melody. But I think that is how it works. After many years of listening, their songs are becoming my song. The melody arising from the compassion energy of the Buddha, being transmitted though the notes is teaching me the music of the Buddhas from the ten directions. But on my own, my song is not fluid, or stable, not grounded in the deeper music, but still cluttered with random notes that are off key or flat.
Like my chanting, my life, and interactions with others is a song playing itself out. When I am in sync with the melody of love and compassion, there is joy, peace, and happiness. When I am operating from my ego, anger, greed, or delusion, then I am hitting a lot of flat notes and I am off key, my relationships are clashing, and there is suffering and discord inside and outside of me.
So, I need to continue to learn the music of compassion and let my life flow from the connection to that inner song. May my ego be quieted so the pure notes can come through. May love guide my thoughts, actions and words every moment so that someday I may be able to harmonize with others without obstruction.