Chanting to Change the World?

When we chant to create change, we are both chanting in a ritual way to manifest an effect in the world and chanting in a meditative way to cause changes in ourselves and our views.

Creating change in ourselves is not different from creating change in the world. Creating change in the world is not different from creating change in ourselves.

How is change even possible, when the truth of all existence is suffering? Throughout space and time suffering is something all beings experience. Often, suffering is the direct result of our attachments to particular desired outcomes. So, in wanting change, are we not just moving from one form of suffering to another form of suffering?

It is true that we cannot permanently end suffering. The desire for change, however, is not built on the notion that we will permanently eradicate suffering. The desire for change, when motivated by bodhicitta, is the natural upwelling of compassion, spontaneous and unbidden, and the wish to alleviate pain, even temporarily, as quickly as possible.  

Change is possible in non-forceful ways, just as clouds change shape in the sky with a gentle breeze. Change is also possible as the result of force, just as our breath on the head of a dandelion changes the shape of the air as the seeds go dancing. Change is actually neither force nor lack of force. It is simply movement.

The breath and voice, raised in chant, create movement. With our chant, we can create change.

Our Sangha is chanting for those afflicted by police violence, brutality, and militarization for the entire month of December. May these beings, and all beings, have freedom from suffering and the causes of suffering. 

From Tibet to Ferguson to New York, and beyond, there are better, safer, more compassionate solutions for law enforcement officers to use than violence. It is also the responsibility of law enforcement officers to actually be twice as sensitive to those who have already been marginalized and oppressed, and to protect all people equally and fairly: suspected criminals, concerned citizens, refugees, and those who left their own countries to come here in search of a better life. They should even protect us from their own expressions of anger, frustration, and other negative emotions, since they are aware that their jobs place them under significant stress. 

Finally, law enforcement officers would be more successful if they were actually also peace and justice officers, carrying out acts that build and strengthen the communities they serve rather than demeaning and damaging them.

Our goal is to collectively and individually accomplish 100,000 repetitions of OM MANI PADME HUM toward positive change and healing regarding law enforcement. We will keep a tally of the recitations here throughout the month, so check back for updates. We will be chanting both in our Tuesday online sessions, and on our own at home. You may fill in this form to receive an email with the link to the chanting sessions or to send in your recitations. 

As of Dec. 7, we have accumulated 13,075 recitations.

As of Dec 9, we have accumulated 22,155 recitations.

As of Dec 14, we have accumulated 30,904 recitations.

As of Dec 15, we have accumulated 40, 584 recitations.

As of Dec. 28, we have accumulated 66,243 recitations.

As of Jan 6, 2015, we have accumulated 89,074 recitations.

As of Jan 11, we have accumulated 102,291 recitations.