Guide to Reciting the Sanghāta
When we recite this text, we are offering our bodies to allow the Sanghāta Sūtra to manifest in the world in its fullest form: as physical sound, as verbal expression and as mental content.
Download a recording of a recitation of the English translation
As Lama Zopa Rinpoche said about the Sanghāta Sūtra, “This is a very important sutra, and can be recited in many different situations, for example when a center or an individual has problems or obstacles. It is a direct blessing from Buddha to you.” Indeed, Rinpoche has repeatedly asked his Dharma centers to specifically recite the Sanghāta Sūtra to generate merit for special projects, especially for the success of the Maitreya Project. On the first anniversary of 9/11, Rinpoche requested his students to recite the sutra for world peace and to avert disaster. Rinpoche has given recitations of the Sanghāta Sūtra as a preliminary practice to students, including one senior monk who was asked to recite the sutra 500 times as a preliminary practice before beginning a long-term retreat.
Reciting the Sanghāta can be seen as an offering to Buddha and to the Sanghāta itself, as a form of purification, and as a way to bring all the benefits of the sutra to ourselves and to others who may be within earshot. The Sanghāta Sūtra can be recited any time and any place, but following some basic guidelines can help make the activity most beneficial—and most enjoyable!
The Blessed One said, “An orator of the Dharma is to be understood to be equal to a tathāgata.”
Sarva-shúra said, “Blessed One, who is an orator of the Dharma?” “Anyone who reads out the Sanghāta sutra is an orator of the Dharma.”
“Whoever recites the Sanghāta Sūtra, that one is an expounder of the Dharma.”
Some Basic Guidelines
- The Sanghāta Sūtra can be recited in any language.
- There is no prerequisite for reciting. No initiation, transmission, teachings or permission is required. Anyone can recite, at any time.
- Recite out loud. The idea in reciting is to reproduce the sutra with our body, speech and mind. For that, reciting requires us to use our vocal chords, even if we recite quietly. However, it is especially important for the sound to be audible if pets or other animals are within earshot. The sutra itself describes vast benefits received by those whose ear the sutra reaches, even without understanding. Lama Zopa Rinpoche explains, "If you don’t read the sutra out loud, then you’re cheating yourself, and missing the chance to create the merit of speech."
- It is good to place your palms together in prostration while reciting, as you might if Buddha were present addressing you directly. This is especially beneficial to do at those points where the Sanghāta describes the benefits of placing palms together in prostration to the Sanghāta.
- People usually find it most effective to recite the sutra all at once, rather than doing partial recitations or dividing the recitation into different sessions. However, since there are tremendous benefits to reciting even one verse from the Sanghāta, when it is not possible to do complete recitations, it is still extremely beneficial to recite when one can, as many pages as one can at each time.
- Many of those who have recited with others often report they find this more powerful than reciting alone. In general, the merit generated by group activities far outweighs the merit we can generate on our own. Thus reciting with friends (or strangers, or 'enemies'!) is highly recommended.