When we talk about practicing a Buddhist scripture, we usually interpret it as adopting the scriptural principles into our daily life.
However, in the rich diversity of Buddhist beliefs, there is another more mystical approach to the practice of the Buddhist scriptures.
It is believed that scriptures have power to grant mundane and spiritual benefits when they are recited. Such benefits manifest themselves if a Buddhist recites the scripture devotedly. Therefore, we may witness a Buddhist chanting scripture that is believed to brings blessings, eliminate misfortune or even enhances his social network!
For example, it is a common belief that reciting or chanting Mangala Sutta brings about happiness and blessings to oneself, family and others. Such mystical belief sound superstitious to the educated.
Nevertheless, people stand by its efficaciousness. It is therefore not surprising to find certain practitioners in Asia who memorise the pronunciation and tune of the pali language chant (almost like memorising a magic spell or incantation) However they know little of its actual meaning.
Personally, I would recite the Mangala Sutta in Pali and also in English. The ancient Pali chanting has an almost magical effect on my mind as it invoke a sense of spiritual euphoric during chanting. I love to imagine that the ancient disciples of Buddha had chanted the same text since time immemorial till the present.
Since I do not understand Pali, the recitation can take place without the burden of thinking. I just need to concentrate on feeling blessed and getting the pronunciation right. Therefore it has a deep psychological impact for me.
Me being me, is not satisfied with just chanting and not understanding it’s context. Therefore, I will recite it one more time in English. This time round, I’ll imagine, its Buddha dispensing advice to me.
Here’s a link to the pali chanting