Chanting along with Paritta

Is it okay if one chants along with the monastics who are doing paritta chanting for kathina for instance? I believe Bhikku, Bhikkhuni, Upasaka, and Upasika are all part of the Sangha and should chant along together.

If there’s something particular for the event such as chanting directly about the robe, then being quiet is obviously understood.

Another point of contention is the point that one is “receiving” the blessing of the paritta. Should one be quiet and receptive during this time frame on the one hand as if receiving a Dhamma talk, or is there a symbiotic relationship as one would do with Metta meditation or “Sharing” of merits?
What I mean is that the chanting, knowledge, recitation, and blessing seem to be done by us and for us all …including oneself. is this the correct view to have on such subject or is there not a one size fits all attitude? for instance, if my father was sick and I chanted for him but didn’t really think specifically of him or the illness, but the concept of the chant and invoking that into the ether, is that closer to right view?

One last practical point is that sometimes the majority or all of the laity doesn’t know the paritta, so out of consideration of “my side of the group” I tend to lipsync awkwardly like Brittany Spears. If the chanting book isn’t given out for all of or a section of the recitation, does that somehow make it exclusive to the “in crowd”?

I have many thoughts on this subject. If one could shine light in line with the Dhamma it would be much appreciated.

p.s. may this be reflected on only with the intention of ridding doubts, and not with excessive proliferation.

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What’s appropriate here is a matter of custom rather than Dhamma.

When laypeople have requested a paritta recital by the monastic sangha, it’s customary to sit and listen in silence. To join in with the chanting would be deemed at least eccentric and perhaps even impertinent.

When the monastic sangha are reciting the kammavācā for a transaction of the sangha (e.g., that accompanying the kaṭhina ceremony) for the laity to join in would be deemed highly impertinent.

The occasions when custom would deem it acceptable for a layperson to chant parittas are:

• When alone.
• When with other laity but no monastics are present.
• When participating with monastics in the morning and evening services in a monastery where the chants happen to include parittas.


ah okay, I think I understand. I am most familiar with the morning and evening chanting to join in with the monastics. I believe this would be the time for knowledge acquisition and similar to comparing notes in ancient times. whereas something like kathina, vesak, and ordinations are ceremonies that are relevant at an auspicious occasion more specifically to monastics and their contribution to the community through blessing.

This is not true for Sri Lanka. Lay people would absolutely be chanting along. It would be unusual for them not to chant if they were well known suttas.

So it’s very culture specific. If we are talking about Sri Lanka, I’d say you are way overthinking it, OP. That’s the nice thing about SL culture.

There will often be a specific blessing at the end of a thing that should probably only be chanted by the monks (abhivadana silisa…) But lay people often chant along.

I believe it is easier in Thailand to maintain these sublties since so many people have been ordained. This is absent in SL.

When the monastic sangha are reciting the kammavācā for a transaction of the sangha (e.g., that accompanying the kaṭhina ceremony) for the laity to join in would be deemed highly impertinent.

In a SL context the monks would make it clear when the lay people should not chant. Besides, the lay people wouldn’t know the chant so it’s kind of moot. And I think doing the sanghakamma in front of the laypeople is not common in SL.


I’d say that if you know the chants then you should recite them loud and proud. It will be a good example and signal to others that knowing the chants is possible and important.


When I was present at the Sinhalese Maha Pirit at the Buddhistisches Haus (probably the last such ceremony I will ever be a part of, as it took the Venerables two and a half hours to recite the Ratana and Metta Suttas), the Sinhalese ladies present chanted alongside the Sangha either the entire ceremony or certain parts of it. So, probably, this tradition is specific to the SE Asian communities.