Letting the Suttas Sing

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For the first few centuries of their existence, the Buddha’s teachings were transmitted entirely by memory and oral recitation. Recitation practice continues in all Buddhist lineages with many different styles of chanting. When we chant, alone or with others, it soothes the mind and body, deepens our listening skills, and supports meditation. Reciting traditional recollections, reflections, and other texts from the Pali Canon, we find a sense of lineage and a source of inspiration for our practice.

Through chanting, these teachings—the sources we have closest to the actual words of the Buddha—can be absorbed in an embodied way, on a different level than when we hear or read them. We can express aspiration, gratitude, and devotion, and also memorize teachings to be recalled when needed.

In this online retreat we will study and practise chants primarily from the Thai Forest tradition (Amaravati chanting books) in English and in Pāli as well as selected chants and mantras from other traditions.  There will be opportunities to reflect together on the dharma teachings contained in each chant and absorb them in guided and silent meditation.

Chanting together in an online retreat means chanting as a community by each joining our voice simultaneously with one leader or a recording of one or more voices chanting together. Although we are not able to hear everyone’s voices at the same time, many people have discovered in the last year or two that it is a surprisingly moving and uplifting way to practise together. It also frees us as we learn new chants from any need for concern about what we sound like to the people we are chanting with. Joining our voices, we can let the dharma resonate from country to country and continent to continent, out into cyberspace and beyond.

Resources for all the chants will be made available shortly before and during the retreat. There is no need for any prior study or experience of chanting, or any musical talent. Chanting is easier than singing.

To get an impression of what a chanting session with Jaya is like, please find here links to video and audio of the autumn 2021 TOL session: The Metta Sutta and the Practice of Chanting.

Event Details


Friday 9th December (opening day)

14.00-16.30 Opening session, teaching
19.00-20.30 Teaching, chanting and meditation

Saturday 10th – Monday 12th December

09.00-10.00 Chanting and meditation
13.30-16.30 Teaching and practice
19.00-20.30 Questions, chanting and meditation

Tuesday 13th December

09.00-10.00 Chanting and meditation
13.30-16.30 Reflections, chanting and closing session.

Additional information:

In case you live in a different time zone recordings of the live sessions will be made available too, so that you can access them at suitable local times. However, we do recommend that you attend the orientation session live if at all possible.


  • This course is offered on a  fee basis to cover Bodhi College's  overhead costs. 
  • The fee does not contribute towards the livelihood of our teachers. You will be invited to offer teacher dana at the end of the course.
  • If you are unable to afford the rate please let us know. We will make sure that no one is turned away because of lack of funds.



Jaya new
began meditating in the 1980s and practised for eight years as a nun in the Thai Forest tradition in England with Ven. Ajahn Sumedho as her teacher. She is a graduate of the Insight Meditation Society/Spirit Rock Teacher Training and teaches Insight Meditation and mindfulness in the UK and internationally. Jaya is a qualified yoga teacher and a certified Holden Qigong instructor.