I forgot this one too.

Chanting is a part of Buddhist practice, and monks are required to do it twice a day. At the temple, we meditators chanted together every evening, led by one of our teacher-monks. All of our chanting was done in Pali, the language the Buddhist scriptures are written in and probably related to the language the Buddha spoke. Pali is a powerful and sacred language, so Buddhist chants (at least in the Theraveda tradition) are usually not translated into the vernacular. Translation can skew the original meaning of a text, so preserving the original language also preserves the intended meaning.

The altar in our chanting hall was typical of most Thai temples. The three most important aspects of Buddhism are the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha (the religious community). The altar decorations express these Three Gems, as they’re called in the scriptures. Flowers, incense and candles are brought by devotees and surround a statue of the Buddha. The variety of flowers species reflects the many types of people that make up the Sangha. Worshippers usually make an offering of two candles and three incense sticks. The candles represent the Sutras and the Vinaya, the two main collections of Buddhist scripture. The incense is for the three virtues that the Buddha perfectly embodied- purity, wisdom and compassion.


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