The Knack How to chant, by Indra Adnan

"You can chant anywhere. Having said that, it is most effective to find a space where you can create a sense of the sacred. You can sit, kneel or even stand, as long as you are comfortable and can concentrate. There are no rules but most Nicherin Buddhists chant with their hands together, as if in prayer, again for concentration. The regular rhythm of a repeated phrase - Nam Myo-ho Ren-ge Kyo in three-four time - causes the mind to dive below the mundane plateaux of thought. Different chanters have different mental approaches: some choose simply to listen intently to the sound of their own voices, which eventually induces a feeling of transcendence. Others treat chanting as a creative opportunity, visualising goals and actively causing well-being through consciously invoking joy and gratitude. When I was first introduced to Buddhism in Indonesia, I immediately clicked with the philosophy, but I couldn't be doing with the chanting. However, after seeing dependent, poverty-stricken people transformed into motivated, productive people - through chanting, they said - I began to understand the benefits. Chanting is an invigorating practise which can help to transform your life radically by revealing the enlightened state - Buddhahood - inherent in everyone's life."

Indra Adnan is a member of the Buddhist Society for the Creation of Value (SGI). For information on introductory lectures, or Buddhist groups near you, call 0181-948 0381