I referred on the podcast to the over-the-top theatrics of the Lotus Sutra, and also that Nagarjuna’s “verses” were just that: verses meant to be memorized and sung.
Well, here on youtube we have a recording of the Lotus Sutra (I have no idea how much of it; surely not the whole thing) memorized and chanted in a simultaneously monotonous and hypnotically cool way by “some Western Buddhist monks.”
Be sure to get to (or jump to) 6:55 in here when they suddenly get all bass-y such that I just about choked myself laughing for a second. I also love at the end (around 8:45) when they get all slow and swooshy like they’re imitating the Doppler effect.
If you want to understand SLIGHTLY more of what’s being said, you can read the text online here. Here’s a little section from Chapter 1 that illustrates the point I was getting at:
Now at that time it was that the Lord surrounded, attended, honoured, revered, venerated, worshipped by the four classes of hearers, after expounding the Dharmaparyâya called ‘the Great Exposition,’ a text of great development, serving to instruct Bodhisattvas and proper to all Buddhas, sat cross-legged on the seat of the law and entered upon the meditation termed ‘the station of the exposition of Infinity;’ his body was motionless and his mind had reached perfect tranquillity. And as soon as the Lord had entered upon his meditation, there fell a great rain of divine flowers, Mandâravasâ and great Mandâravas, Mañgûshakas and great Mañgûshakas, covering the Lord and the four classes of hearers, while the whole Buddha field shook in six ways: it moved, removed, trembled, trembled from one end to the other, tossed, tossed along.
Then did those who were assembled and sitting together in that congregation, monks, nuns, male and female lay devotees, gods, Nagas, goblins, Gandharvas, demons, Garudas, Kinnaras, great serpents, men, and beings not human, as well as governors of a region, rulers of armies and rulers of four continents, all of them with their followers, gaze on the Lord in astonishment, in amazement, in ecstasy.
I’d be happy to hear from folks that have read and gotten a lot from this text; I found the first chapter much too tedious to want to get any farther into it (e.g. this list with “goblins” in it occurs something like 8 times in that chapter).