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Book/CD: Sampoojanam: Reverence to the Buddha

sampoo-frontSampoojanam: Reverence to the Buddha

Buddhist Sanskrit and Pali chants presented in kirtan
by Sree Aswath and Carl Scott
Mindflow Learning Systems 25 pages, $16.95
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Many of the original texts of Buddhism are written in Sanskrit, so it’s not uncommon for a Buddhist to learn the language. It’s more than a little daunting getting started learning Pali or Sanskrit, but many rituals involve recitations or chanting in Pali, even in modern times. This little booklet and CD set are one way to learn one of the major rituals, the sevenfold Buddha Puja.

The booklet begins by describing how to perform the puja (worship ceremony), either alone or with a group. This section of the booklet is only two pages, but seems thorough enough to me. the next several pages are the Sanskrit version of the ritual. There is no explanation in this section about what the Sanskrit says or how to read it; this is not a “how to read Sanskrit” text. Most of the remainder of the book has the phonetic version of the spoken ritual on the left-hand page and the English translation on the right-hand page. The accompanying CD has the chants on it, and you can follow each track while reading the phonteic version in the book. Presumably one can memorize the sounds and repeat the ritual after enough repetitions.

The voices and chanting on the CD are clear and spoken slowly enough that following along in the booklet is easy. The book itself is small, but does the job. If you can read the Sanskrit, that’s good, but if not, the translation is there to help. Although the puja ritual is explained, there is no explanation on the meaning of the text, so you may want to do a little research on the sutras and chants outside the book.

My opinion is that the best use of this book and CD set is to memorize the chanting, or to perhaps get a little extra experience reading Sanskrit while listening to it being read aloud on the CD. If you want to learn to do a real puja in authentic Pali, then this might be worth picking up.

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