Buddhist MP3s

11 Aug 2005

I’ve visited quite a few Chinese Buddhist temples in my day, and those temples invariably have Buddhist music playing in the gift shop. I’m frequently somewhat attracted to that music, even though I can’t understand it. There’s just something about the chanting… the feel of it. I never liked it enough to actually buy a CD, though.

Recently I had the idea of looking for this kind of music online. Baidu’s MP3 search was the natural place to start. (See my tutorial on it if you don’t know how to use it.)

First I did a search for 佛教 歌 (buddhims, songs) in Baidu web search. I clicked on the top result (on fowang.org). Sure enough, it was a listing of Buddhist songs. They were supposed to be downloadable MP3s, but none of the links worked. No problem.

I opened a new tab and went to Baidu’s MP3 search. I copied and pasted what I deemed to be key words from the names of the songs in the fowang.org listing. I got some decent results with the following terms (click on the Chinese to see the search results):

(Fó, Buddha)
阿弥陀佛 (Ēmítuófó, “Buddha preserve us.” A common refrain in Buddhist prayer, also known as Amithabha.)
观音 (Guānyīn, Goddess of Mercy)
菩萨 (Púsà, Bodhisattva)
(jīng, used in scripture/prayer names)
: 大悲咒, 大明咒, 普庵咒 (zhòu, something like “incantation,” used in the names of ceremonies)
梵唱 (fànchàng, Buddhist chanting)

I’m no expert on Buddhism, so if I’m off on any of these brief explanations, feel free to let me know.

Obviously, you don’t have to stick to these searches; you can find your own terms and copy and paste them into the MP3 search box, even if you can’t type Chinese. Your computer will need to support GB2312 (Simplified Chinese) encoding, however. Baidu doesn’t use Unicode.

If you can view Chinese in your browser but can’t read it, you can still download the songs that Baidu MP3 search turns up. Look for songs with a relatively large filesize (over 1 M). Rightclick, then “Save as.” You may want to rename the file when you save it.

That should give you a taste of some Chinese Buddhist music. If you like it, consider making a visit to a Chinese temple and actually buying a CD.

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John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.

Comments

  1. Many kinda resources in the temple, it’s easy to get such songs there. ;P

  2. ooh! i bet that would be really nice meditative music that i could play for my massage clients, huh?

  3. Amy,

    Hmmmm… probaby not. Download and listen to a few and tell me what you think.

  4. A long time ago I had a Buddhist meditation cassette with the tape inside looped, so you could put it in a walkman and listen to it forever. It was just 30 seconds of singing 南无阿弥陀佛 (sung 4 times over a standard 3-chord progression), but it was surprisingly relaxing. I can’t seem to find the same melody on baidu…I guess I should’ve recorded it as an mp3 before I lost it.

  5. A hard listen to learn, but one we could all benefit from:

    Back up all your Buddhist cassette tapes to MP3s TODAY!

  6. “a hard LISTEN to learn”? interesting typo…

  7. A song, can bring us to a moment of compassion when some one attach to buddha song… after we leave away the song and we are away compassion. concentration and inproper attachment created outside world feeling through our senses, our heart do attach to difference feeling within moments in difference. listen to buddha song it attached us to stop at compassion and happines approach. Ask a question to ourself, why should i do that?

  8. I am so happy that I have found this wonderful site. I will surely share it with all my friends.

    It takes time to learn & appreciate these chanting verses. Get into them, and bring them to your heart & soul. Most certain that we will benefit from it through continuous practices… 南无阿弥陀佛….

  9. This resource for finding buddhist mp3’s is great… found some gems here that i don’t know how to find on utorrent and other similar networks.

    Thanks!

  10. You can also visit this website : http://sites.google.com/site/buddhistsongs/

    to get a few free chinese buddhist songs. Hope that you will enjoy and

    share with other.

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