Buddhist Culture and Art - Buddhist Music

Buddhist music prominently includes Honkyoku, Buddhist chant, and Shomyo. Honkyoku are the pieces of shakuhachiyoku for enlightenment and alms as early as the 13th century.

Buddhist chant is the chant used in or inspired by Buddhism, including many genres in many cultures. It includes:

  • Repetition of the name of Amitābha in Pure Land Buddhism.
  • Shomyo in Japanese Tendai and Shingon Buddhism.
  • Throat singing in Tibetan Buddhist chant.

Musical chanting, most often in Tibetan or Sanskrit, is an integral part of the religion. These chants are complex, often recitations of sacred texts or in celebration of various festivals. Yang chanting, performed without metrical timing, is accompanied by resonant drums and low, sustained syllables.

Shomyo (声明) is a style of Japanese Buddhist chant; mainly in the Tendai and Shingon sects. There are two styles: ryokyoku and rikkyoku, described as difficult and easy to remember, respectively.

Many ritual musical instruments are used in association with Buddhist practice including singing bowls, bells, tingsha, drums, cymbals, wind instruments and others.

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