QUESTION: Dear Expert,

I have recently purchased an app of Buddhist sutras. These are from Japan and are entitled things like heart and compassion. I find them very relaxing and moving. My question is whether these are prayers to a Diety or more like inspirational in nature. Thanks in advance for your time.

ANSWER: Hi Ovadiad,

I am unable to answer you unless I get to listen to it.  Not that I know Japanese, but I will know whether it is Japanese.  If it is in Japanese, chances are they are their version of Buddhism, if they called it Buddhism.  Buddhist chanting can be in local languages, like Chinese and Tibetan.  The more traditional Buddhist schools chant in Pali.

Justin Choo

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QUESTION: Thanks. Let me rephrase: are Buddhist sutras prayers to a Diety? Thanks again

Hi Ovadiad,

In the Theravada tradition, Suttas (suttras) are mostly the discourses of the Buddha.  The monks in those early years after the death of the Buddha, memorized his teachings by chanting them.  During those days, his teachings were not written down.  When we do chanting we are actually reciting the Buddha's teachings.  Because of the truths in his teachings, the recitation may produce positive effects, together with the vibrations of the chanting.

In Mahayana tradition, especially the Chinese version, followers chant many types of "suttras" some of which are dedicated to certain deities or Bodhisattas.

Justin Choo


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Justin Choo


All your questions will be answered, and you may not have to agree with the answers. Such is the beauty of Buddhism. I follow the Theravada tradition, and have been studying Buddhism for more than 50 years. As I am not a Buddhist scholar, I answer in simple language, and I prefer answering general questions rather than textual.


I was brought up in the 50's as a Buddhist. For the past 50 years I have read numerous books on Buddhism and listened to numerous talks on Buddhism by well-respected and learned monks and lay teachers. I have conducted Buddhist classes for parents of Sunday School children in a Theravada Buddhist Temple. My teacher was the late Chief Reverend, The Ven. K Sri Dhammananda of The Brickfields Buddhist Mahavihara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. You can view the relevant website in memory of my revered late teacher @ http://www.ksridhammananda.com and my blog posting at http://blackandwhite999.blogspot.com/2008/08/my-revered-teacher.html

I am a life member of the Buddhist Missionary Society Malaysia.

YOU ARE INVITED TO VISIT MY BLOG @ http://lifeislikethat999.blogspot.com/ Published a book called "The Rainbow And The Treasure". It is a compilation of extracts from various sources to introduce Buddhism to beginners. (Currently out of print)

Bachelor of Commerce And Administration, Victoria University Of Wellington, NZ.(1974)

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