Buddhist chant boxes are hardware loop players that are sold in temples throughout Asia. They are small battery-powered devices resembling a cheap AM radio that play looped recordings of Buddhist chants. They are intended for use when it’s not possible to get to a temple, or if one wanted to chant and meditate on the go. Each box usually contains either two or more chants.
In Buddhism, chanting is the traditional means of preparing the mind for meditation, especially as part of formal practice. Recitation of the name Amituofo is a way to purify the mind, thoughts and environment. When the mind is serene and compassionate, the living environment will become tranquil. The benefits from this kind of thought can neutralize turbulance from greed, anger, ignorance and arrogance. Everyone can benefit from this recitation regardless of religion.
Almost every Buddhist school has a tradition of chanting associated with it. While the basis for most Theravada chants is the Pali Canon, Mahayana and Vajrayana chants draw from a wider range of sources. In the Vajrayana tradition, chanting is also used as an invocative ritual in order to set one’s mind on a deity, Tantric ceremony, mandala, or particular concept one wishes to further in themselves.
While not strictly a variation of Buddhist chanting in itself, Japanese Shigin is a form of chanted poetry that reflects several principles of Zen Buddhism. It is sung in the seiza position, and participants are encouraged to sing from the gut, the Zen locus of power. Shigin and related practices are often sung at Buddhist ceremonies and quasi-religious gatherings in Japan.