One method to grasp the teachings of the Buddha is through Dharma Songs- Buddhist teachings put into musical and lyrical form. Dharma Songs are different than popular songs of today, to some they may seem very different, but can help people grasp the meaning of Buddhist concepts easier than studying texts. We sing Dharma Songs as a way to practice mindfulness meditation; when we sing with joy and happiness, there is a sense of peace we are able to attain.
To fully achieve the benefits of singing the Dharma, sing wholeheartedly in your own expressive way. When practicing Dharma Songs, it is especially helpful to use imagery which relates to the meaning of the teaching within. This imagery can help express effectively the deep meaning of the song to those who are listening.
A method to practice Dharma Songs in a meditative way is to take three full breaths, breathing in and out slowly, and read the words of the song and meditate on the meaning. That way, when we sing, we are able to express the deep meaning behind the words of the song.
At Quan Am Nam Hai Monastery, we practice Dharma Songs before beginning Working Meditation, Walking Meditation, Tea Meditation, and during Be-Ins with the Sangha. We sing these songs to build up our sense of brother or sisterhood. Because of this practice, many people who could not sing before, or even those who had trouble speaking to groups, are able to improve their vocal skills- speaking to others, both individuals and groups. Confidence is built, and we are better able to project our voices through this practice.