JKhedrup wrote:Thanks Ven. Huifeng.
I was always really intrigued by the instruments, they seem to require a fair amount of concentration and calm to play correctly though, so I was a bit too intimidated to try.
The Chinese liturgical music is pretty much my favourite from any of the Buddhist traditions- we have some nice chanting in Tibetan but generally it is not as "musica" as what you find in the Chinese temples. At CTTB they tried to chant a few of the prayers in English but it wasn't nearly as nice so I always preferred the Chinese even though I had to consult the English booklet to understand what was going on.
A fair amount of concentration, yes. But, once one gets the gist of it, it is fairly possible to do it while being totally distracted internally at the same time. I should know -- ha! I personally find this less so with the vocalic chanting -- not because chanting is necessarily more difficult per se, but because it involves more of a physical input, ie. coordinating the breath with the chant. So, once the breath gets into mode, then of course the mind follows.
I think that while the greater "musical" qualities have the flip side, though, of making it more difficult to convert to another language. I've mentioned recently, that in one of my last discussions on such matters with Rev. Heng Sure at the CTTB, after all the musical experience and expertise that he has, he is now tending towards a simple vocals only freeform chanting. Quite possibly his association with Amaravati plays a fair role in that. However, the tricky challenge is there. I've been contemplating this for some time, but my musical skills have long since bitten the dust many years ago... I'm still working on this, though.