CHANTING THE HEART SUTRA IN ENGLISH

In MUSIC by Rodrigo Reijers17 Comments

All spiritual traditions have always used singing and chanting as an important part of their practice. It must have been the way texts have been passed along through generations in the times before people could read and write and book printing was invented. But there are many more reasons why chanting has a central place in so many spiritual traditions worldwide.

Chanting creates a bridge between the understanding of the head and the understanding of the heart. It brings body, speech and mind together in one flowing gesture. It is a joyful thing to do, which naturally brings forth your dignity; effortlessly you sit straight up, you concentrate, you relax and go through the words without any hesitation. You can use your voice to let every syllable resonate through your body and in this way let the words sink in all your cells, your whole being, way beyond the conceptual understanding.

Chanting, or let’s use the word reciting here; can be a way to build a relationship with a text, a friendship that grows, revealing insights and nuances as you get to know and appreciate each other better each time you meet again. It’s also an excellent way for a group to practice together. By chanting together right away a focus is established, and the group energy gets lifted up to a place where devotion is joyfully charged with the vibrations of all voices blending together.

I’ve heard it said that reciting sacred texts is also important because enables other beings, maybe animals or beings we can not see, to hear the sacred words and make a connection to the teachings. The Heart Sutra is an example of an extremely profound and sacred text that has been chanted for centuries, in many different languages in all the Asian countries where Buddhism is practiced.

The Nalanda Translation Committee, under the direction of Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, translated it into English, so westerners can now also chant it in a language they can understand and relate to. Here I would like to present my recorded version of this translation of the Heart Sutra.

It is meant to be chanted along, and I’ve tried to find a way so you can be free in choosing the pitch that you feel comfortable with and  whether you like to recite it in a monotonous manner or more melodic. Most important is that you chant it wholeheartedly, and with the confidence that, even though you might not understand the text completely, you connect with the deep meaning and the blessings of it. May it benefit many beings!

About the Author
Rodrigo Reijers

Rodrigo Reijers

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Rodrigo Reijers is a musician, educator and Kambo practicioner. He now lives in Odense, Denmark. You can find some of Rodrigo's CD's on bandcamp. and more music here: soundcloud. On Vajrasound.com you can find dharmasongs Rodrigo recorded with Sascha Sellberg. You are welcome to contact Rodrigo about any of these activities: rodrigoreijers@gmail.com or www.facebook.com/rodrigoreijers

The Heart Sutra from Nalanda Translation Committee’s website – available as a free download.
Featured image: Prajaparamitra.

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Comments

  1. Seema

    Hi Rodrigo,

    So beautiful ! I chant heart sutra in Japanese and have just started to chant in Tibitian as well. Honestly I never thought English version would sound so good to mind :). Tone , speed is perfect, well done!.
    Thank you for sharing this beautiful meditative composition.

    Love
    Seema

  2. I grew up hearing this… thank you for recording it in the manner you did, listening to it helps calm my mind.

  3. Good, wonderful inspiring chanting of the Heartsutra, thank you Rodrigo. great accomplishment! I like the speed, and the tone; in this way I will really recite the Heartsutra by heart. thank you sooo much. love Marlou

  4. So beautiful! It gives a lot of strength and calm. Thank you from all my heart!

  5. Wow…
    So beautiful…
    Thank you! I chant a lot but I always wonder
    what I am chanting-
    This really gave me a window in-I am going to find someway to save this and pay it at
    The end of my meditation
    .

    1. Dear Friend, try to find the text of the Sutra of the Heart! In my experience, it is best to read it in paper in order to better understand its deepest meaning.

      Best wishes,

      Martina Weitendorf

      1. Rodrigo Reijers Author

        Dear Martina,

        thank you for your comment. As it turns out the link to the text I originally provided to the Nalanda translation doesn’t work anymore. I found another link where this translation (and others) can be found. http://www.dharmanet.org/HeartSutra.htm It’s up to you to print it on paper for best results 😉
        Kind Regards,
        Rodrigo

  6. Frans Stiene

    Hi Rodrigo,
    I chant the Heart Sutra in Japanese which I really enjoy.
    I love your recording, the speed and the tome of it, very well done, thank you so much.
    Will share it with my students.

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