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What is recitation?
Dictionaries define recitation as the action of repeating something aloud from memory. That’s exactly what we do in Buddhism, repeating texts—words of the Buddha or commentaries by great masters—in order to think about them and have these words make strong impressions in our minds.
At Sravasti Abbey, the Buddhist monastery where I train, we do recitations at the beginning and end of our morning and evening meditation sessions, before breakfast, before and after lunch, and before and after receiving Buddhist teachings.
Personally speaking, it’s so much better to fill my mind with words meant to help cultivate love, compassion, and wisdom than with pop song lyrics!
When we do recitations at the Abbey, by the way, we provide the words. It’s good to memorize the texts, but reading them is OK too.
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