This is the record of Yuso-san singing the Buddhist chant from Buddhist Sutra. Yuso-san is a monk in Onsenji temple, Toyooka, Kinosaki, about 4 hours of travel by land from Northwest of Kyoto. I went there with my best friend, Kumiko-san. Kumiko-san was the one who introduced me to Yuso-san and asked him to sing the Buddhist chant for me to record.
It feels seldom to find a moment to record a Buddhist chant sang by a monk himself, in particular, for my research. Along my research in Thailand, I usually tape while the monks were singing together.
That afternoon, 26 April 2019, the atmosphere around the temple of Onsenji was so calm. The rain that poured over Toyooka subsided and left the fresh and clean cold air. There were no other visitors in the temple that time but us. The atmosphere in the temple was also very calm, compared to the popular crowded temples in Japan, like the Todaiji temple in Nara, or the temple of Shinto Sensoji in Asakusa, Tokyo.
After finished setting up the microphone, I allowed Yuso-san to began chanting. Even though it was done by himself, the singing technique of the Buddhist monks which uses a lot of throat resonance still makes a clear voice. Yuso-san’s voice resonances, and fills the air and this old temple room made by woods. That afternoon felt so deep and spiritual.
After the recording session, Yuso-san showed me some few scripts and notations of Buddhist songs. It was very interesting to pay attention to how the intonation signs in the form of straight lines being written up and down. It was such an honor to get the chance to tape the Buddhist chanting by Yuso-san in the temple of Onsenji. Thank you so much, Yuso-san, until we meet again.