Common Chants

Chants for Before and After Dharma Talks

Immediately before a Dharma talk is given:

An unsurpassed, penetrating, and perfect Dharma
Is rarely met with
Even in a hundred thousand million kalpas.
Having it to see and listen to, to remember and accept,
I vow to taste the truth of the Tathagata's words.


At the close of the Dharma talk, the Four Great Vows:

Beings are numberless,
I vow to awaken with them.
Delusions are inexhaustible,
I vow to end them.
Dharma gates are boundless,
I vow to enter them.
Buddha's way is unsurpassable,
I vow to become it.


Enmei Jukko Kannon Gyo

Kan ze on
Na mu Butsu
Yo butsu u in
Yo butsu u en
Bup po so en
Jo raku ga jo
Cho nen Kan ze on
Bo nen Kan ze on
Nen nen ju shin ki
Nen nen fu ri shin


Great Wisdom Beyond Wisdom Heart Sutra

Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva
When practicing deeply the prajna paramita
Perceived that all five skandhas in their own being are empty
And was saved from all suffering.

"Oh Shariputra, form does not differ from emptiness
Emptiness does not differ from form.
That which is form is emptiness; that which is emptiness, form.
The same is true of feelings, perceptions, formations, consciousness.

Oh Shariputra, all Dharmas are marked with emptiness;
They do not appear nor disappear, are not tainted nor pure,
Do not increase nor decrease.

Therefore in emptiness, no form,
No feelings, no perceptions, no formations, no consciousness,
No eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind;
No color, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no object of mind;
No realm of eyes until no realm of mind consciousness;
No ignorance and also no extinction of it until no old-age-and-death
And also no extinction of it; no suffering, no origination, no stopping, no path; no cognition, also no attainment.

With nothing to attain a bodhisattva depends on prajna paramita
And the mind is no hindrance.
Without any hindrance no fears exist;
Far apart from every perverted view one dwells in nirvana.
In the three worlds all buddhas depend on prajna paramita
And attain unsurpassed complete perfect enlightenment.

Therefore know the prajna paramita,
Is the great transcendent mantra,
Is the great bright mantra, is the utmost mantra,
Is the supreme mantra,
Which is able to relieve all suffering
And is true, not false.
So proclaim the prajna paramita mantra,
Proclaim the mantra that says:
“Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate! Bodhi! Svaha!"


Hakuin Zenji’s Song of Zazen

All beings by nature are Buddha, as ice by nature is water;
Apart from water there is no ice, apart from beings no Buddha.
How sad that people ignore the near and search for truth afar,
Like someone in the midst of water crying out in thirst,
like the child of a wealthy home wandering among the poor.
Lost on the dark paths of ignorance,
We wander through the six worlds;
From dark path to dark path we wander,
When shall we be freed from birth and death?
For this the zazen of the Mahayana deserves the highest praise:
Offerings, Precepts, Paramitas, Nembutsu, atonement, practice-
The many other virtues, all arise from zazen.
Those who try zazen even once wipe away immeasurable crimes.
Where are all the dark paths then? The Pure Land is near.
Those who hear this truth even once,
And listen with a grateful heart,
treasuring it, revering it, gain blessings without end.
Much more if you turn yourself about,
And confirm your own self nature-
Self nature that is no nature - you are far beyond argument.
The oneness of cause and effect is clear, not two, not three,
The path is straight:
With form that is no form, coming and going - never astray;
With thought that is no thought,
Singing and dancing are the voice of the Law.
Boundless and free is the sky of Samadhi,
Bright the full moon of wisdom, truly is anything missing now?
Nirvana is right here, before our eyes.
This very place is the Lotus Land, this very body the Buddha.


Maka Hannya Haramitta Shin Gyo

Kan ji zai bo satsu gyo jin hannya ha ra mitta
Ji sho ken go on kai ku do issai ku yaku sha ri shi
Shiki fu i ku ku fu i shiki shiki soku ze ku ku soku ze
Shiki ju so gyo shiki yaku bu nyo ze sha ri shi ze
Sho ho ku so fu sho fu metsu fu ku fu jo fu zo
Fu gen ze ko ku chu mu shiki mu ju so gyo shiki mu
Gen ni bi zes shin ni mu shiki sho ko mi soku ho mu
Gen kai nai shi mu i shiki kai mu mu myo yaku mu mu
Myo jin nai shi mu ro shi yaku mu ro shi jin mu ku shu
Metsu do mu chi yaku mu toku i mu sho tok ko Bodaisatta
E  hannya ha ra mitta ko shin mu ke ge
Mu ke ge ko mu u ku fu on ri issai ten do
Mu so ku gyo ne han san ze sho butsu e hannya
Ha ra mitta ko toku a noku ta ra san myaku san bo
Dai ko chi hannya ha ra mitta ze dai jin shu ze
Dai myo shu ze mu jo shu ze mu to do shu no jo
Issai ku shin jitsu fu ko ko setsu hannya ha ra mitta
Shu soku setsu shu watsu
Gya te gya te ha ra gya te hara so gya te
Bodhi sowa ka hannya shin gyo


Metta Sutta

This is what should be accomplished by the one who is wise,
Who seeks the good and has obtained peace:

Let one be strenuous, upright and sincere,
Without pride, easily contented and joyous.
Let one not be submerged by the things of the world.
Let one not take upon one's self the burden of riches.
Let one's senses be controlled.
Let one be wise but not puffed up,
And let one not desire great possessions, even for one's family.
Let one do nothing that is mean or that the wise would reprove.
May all beings be happy.
May they be joyous and live in safety.

All living beings, whether weak or strong,
In high or middle or low realms of existence,
Small or great, visible or invisible, near or far,
Born or to be born, may all beings be happy.
Let no one deceive another, nor despise any being in any state;
Let none by anger or hatred wish harm to another.

Even as a mother at the risk of her life watches over and
Protects her only child, so with a boundless mind should one
Cherish all living things, suffusing love over the entire world,
Above, below, and all around, without limit; so let one cultivate
An infinite good will toward the whole world.

Standing or walking, sitting or lying down, during all one's
Waking hours, let one practice the way, with gratitude.

Not holding to fixed views, abandoning vague discussions,
Endowed with insight, freed from sense appetites,
One who achieves the Way will be freed
From the duality of birth and death.


Prayer for Peace

May I be well, loving, and peaceful. May all beings be well, loving, and peaceful.

May I be at ease in my body, feeling the ground beneath my seat and feet, letting my back be long and straight, enjoying breath as it rises and falls and rises.

May I know and be intimate with body mind, whatever its feeling or mood, calm or agitated, tired or energetic, irritated or friendly.  Breathing in and out, in and out, aware, moment by moment, of the risings and passings.

May I be attentive and gentle towards my own discomfort and suffering.

May I be attentive and grateful for my own joy and well-being.

May I move towards others freely and with openness.

May I receive others with sympathy and understanding.

May I move towards the suffering of others with peaceful and attentive confidence.

May I recall the Bodhisattva of compassion; her 1,000 hands, her instant readiness for action. Each hand with an eye in it, the instinctive knowing what to do.

May I continually cultivate the ground of peace for myself and others and persist, mindful and dedicated to this work, independent of results.

May I know that my peace and the world's peace are not separate; that our peace in the world is a result of our work for justice.

May all beings be well, happy, and peaceful.


Robe Chant

Now we open Buddha's robe
A field far beyond form and emptiness,
The Tathagata's teaching for all beings.

Dai zai ge da pu ku
Mu so fu ku den e
Hi bu nyorai kyo
Ko do sho shu jo

Now we open Buddha's robe
A field far beyond form and emptiness,
The Tathagata's teaching for all beings.


Sho Sai Myo

No mo san man da moto nan

Oha ra chi koto sha sono nan

To ji to en gya gya gya ki gya ki

Un nun shifu ra shifu ra

Hara shifu ra hara shifu ra

Chishu sa chishu sa chisu ri chisu ri

Soha ja Soha ja sen chi gya shiri e so mo ko


Sandokai: The Identity of Relative and Absolute

The mind of the Great Sage of India
Is intimately conveyed west and east.
Among human beings are wise ones and fools
In the Way there is no teacher of north and south.
The subtle Source is clear and bright;
The branching streams flow in the dark.
To be attached to things is primordial illusion;
To encounter the absolute is not yet enlightenment.
All spheres, every sense and field
Intermingle even as they shine alone,
Interacting even as they merge,
Yet keeping their places in expressions of their own.
Forms differ primally in shape and character
And sounds in harsh or soothing tones.
The dark makes all words one;
The brightness distinguishes good and bad phrases.
The four elements return to their true nature
As a child to its mother.
Fire is hot, water is wet, wind moves and the earth is dense.
Eye and form, ear and sound, nose and smell,
Tongue and taste, the sweet and sour:
Each independent of the other
Like leaves that come from the same root.
And though leaves and root must go back to the Source
Both root and leaves have their own uses.
Light is also darkness, but do not move with it as darkness.
Darkness is light; do not see it as light.
Light and darkness are not one, not two,
Like the foot before and the foot behind in walking.
Each thing has its own being
Which is not different from its place and function.
The relative fits the absolute as a box and its lid.
The absolute meets the relative
Like two arrow points that meet in mid-air.
Hearing this, simply perceive the Source, make no criterion.
If you do not see the Way, you do not see it even as you walk on it.
When you walk the Way you draw no nearer, progress no farther.
Who fails to see this is mountains and rivers away.
Listen, those who would pierce this subtle matter:
Do not waste your time by night or day.