What's on your raft? (your personal daily chanting book)

I’ve put together an anthology of suttas, what I consider the absolute essential suttas. For crossing the flood from near shore to far, to reach the island (of nirvana).

The raft is the 8aam (noble eightfold path).

On my raft, there’s roughly 2 hours worth of chanting. The part I consider indispensable and the minimal core for the raft to float. I have another hour or so of suttas I personally enjoy, but consider redundant with the core.

It doesn’t have to be an entire sutta, could be just a line or a passage. I’m asking the community here to see if I missed anything important for my anthology.

So what’s on your raft?


DN 22: Dangerously wrong way of grasping a snake.

He who is so much preoccupied with doctrinal controversy, furnishes, indeed, a fitting illustration of one who carries the raft of the Dhamma on his head or shoulders; and, in his case, this will be not after the crossing but before he has done, or even seriously tried, the fording of the stream.
In fact, this famous parable of the raft will in most cases apply to those who, in the words of the Dhammapada, “run up and down the river’s bank” on this side of the stream, without daring or wishing to cross. We find them using the raft for a variety of purposes: they will adorn it and adore it, discuss it, compare it — indeed anything else than use it.

  1. Incense gāthā
  2. Mahākaruṇācittadhāraṇī*
  3. Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya
  4. Tathāgatāyuṣpramāṇaparivarta
  5. Triple gem refuge

*this one is more of a memorization challenge than anything.

Once I have the Mahākaruṇācittadhāraṇī memorized I plan to tackle the larger Sitātapatroṣṇīṣadhāraṇī


Still - this is all part of the journey :slight_smile: It will take as long as it needs to

I see no reason to criticise any actions at any stage of the path - we are all in Samsara, all of us slowly slowly aiming for liberation.


I like the simile of the snake found in MN22 as well.
I tend to remind myself of it when I get that useless curiosity about something not related to the foundations of awakening.

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Indeed. Often the discipline of the activity itself is more important than the activity.

My morning chanting is a simplified and lay adaption of the monastic morning service. It is a 勤行, or qín xíng, which means “rigorous practise”. It is the practise itself that matters moreso than what you chant.

You could chant the phone book, so long as it is diligent and attentive.


What I’m looking for in particular are super important details that are not described as part of the standard definitions in 4NT, 8aam, 37bp.

For example, AN 3.16 talks about the proper way to eat, and the proper sleep schedule. Without those kinds of details, people really don’t have a concrete sense of what diligence, assiduity, and ardency means in the EBT (aataapi, appamaada, etc.). They might think sleeping 6 hours a night instead of 9 hours is diligent and extraordinary.

some cases, like this one, may be one could consider optional, as the EBT is abundantly clear that right effort (purifying evil) is something that should be done every moment, there is no off switch on right effort and right remembrance. But even so, this passage is helpful in giving a detailed, concrete sense on how thorough right effort is, that one might not pick up on from the standard right effort formula.

MN 61

(Never lie! Lying leads to every evil)

evameva kho, rāhula,
“In the same way, Rāhula,
yassa kassaci sampajāna-musā-vāde natthi lajjā,
when anyone feels no shame in telling a deliberate lie,
n-āhaṃ tassa kiñci pāpaṃ a-karaṇīyanti vadāmi.
there is no evil, I tell you, he will not do.
tasmātiha te, rāhula, ‘hassāpi na musā bhaṇissāmī’ti —
Thus, Rāhula, you should train yourself,
evañhi te, rāhula, sikkhitabbaṃ.
‘I will not tell a deliberate lie even in jest.’

(simile of miror: reflect before, during, after every action )

(mirror body action, kāyena kammaṃ )
(before Body action → consider consequence)
(before Body action → if leads to bad, don’t do)
(before Body action → if not lead to bad, do)
(during Body action → consider consequence)
(during Body action → if leads to bad, don’t do)
(during Body action → if not lead to bad, do)
(after Body action → consider consequence)
(after Body action → confess and don’t do again)
(after Body action → if not lead to bad, rejoice pīti-pāmojja)
♦ 109. “taṃ kiṃ maññasi, rāhula, kimatthiyo ādāso”ti?
109. “What do you think, Rāhula? What is a mirror for?”
“paccavekkhaṇattho, bhante”ti.
“For reflection, sir.”
“evameva kho, rāhula,
“In the same way, Rāhula,
paccavekkhitvā paccavekkhitvā kāyena kammaṃ kattabbaṃ,
bodily actions,
paccavekkhitvā paccavekkhitvā vācāya kammaṃ kattabbaṃ,
verbal actions,
paccavekkhitvā paccavekkhitvā manasā kammaṃ kattabbaṃ.
& mental actions are to be done with repeated reflection.


“And what is the explanation of the Dhamma that’s relevant to oneself? It’s when a noble disciple reflects: ‘I want to live and don’t want to die; I want to be happy and recoil from pain. Since this is so, if someone were to take my life, I wouldn’t like that. But others also want to live and don’t want to die; they want to be happy and recoil from pain. So if I were to take the life of someone else, they wouldn’t like that either. The thing that is disliked by me is also disliked by others. Since I dislike this thing, how can I inflict it on someone else?’ Reflecting in this way, they give up killing living creatures themselves. And they encourage others to give up killing living creatures, praising the giving up of killing living creatures. So their bodily behavior is purified in three points.

Also thinking of the negative consequences and comparing that with what they stand to gain from breaking a precept, the latter which is often much less. Seeing greater drawbacks is a function of the practice, that is developing empathy, makes breaking precepts harder. Developing wider impact ‘downstream’ on other people’s lives makes it again harder. Bringing in the effect of karma into the equation also makes it more difficult. Breaking a precept disturbs the mind and causes remorse (or the ability to feel remorse appropriately should be developed) and this disturbs the peaceful state of a mind with samadhi, hence there is hours or days of practice which is lost. All this would be wise reflection (yonisomanasikara) leading to mindfulness and clear comprehension (sati sampajanna), in not falling into unwholesome behaviors.

with metta


My raft is bound together by Sn 2.14. The second half of this sutta concisely outlines the foundation of lay practice and the eightfold uposatha. For a more detailed treatment on ethics, I refer to MN 41 and DN 31. These texts also help with orientation.

Of the forty meditation objects prescribed in the suttas, I’ve settled on Buddhanusati—as outlined in AN 6.10—to furnish the wood. The Visuddhimagga, Piya Tan’s papers (15.7), and Bhikkhu Bodhi’s series on the Four Protective Meditations have been helpful in putting this teaching into practice.


This is a nice thread.

A joke occurs to me; hopefully, it is inoffensive or even a little useful. A popular television show had an episode in which the mantra “Serenity. NOW!” was used by one or more very angry characters. So that’s a memory which i have found useful, adjusts perspective, lifts too tight a grip on this life’s practice.

:wink: may all of us have serenity ASAP.

edit: however this is not in a personal daily chanting book here! Just an intermitent not unwelcome passing thought.


In the Northern Thai sub-tradition with whose monks I’ve been loosely affiliated for the last couple of decades we have two chanting cycles, one used on even-numbered days, the other on odd-numbered days and Uposathas. The first of the cycles is simply the Bangkok one that was composed by King Rama III or Rama IV (I forget which of the two it was) and then imposed willy-nilly on the whole country. The less said about that the better, as it’s dull as ditchwater. The other more interesting cycle is an abbreviated version of an old Lanna one. It comprises the following:

1st day of waxing or waning moon

(1) Inviting the devatās
(sarajjaṃ sasenaṃ sabandhuṃ narindaṃ…)

(2) Pubbabhāganamakāra
(namo tassa bhagavato…)

(3) Saraṇagamanaṃ, Lanna-style going for refuge
(buddhaṃ jīvitaṃ yāvanibbānaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi…)

(4) Sambuddhe
(sambuddhe aṭṭhavīsañca, dvādasañca sahassake…)

(5) Namokāraṭṭhakagāthā
(namo arahato sammāsambuddhassa mahesino…)

(6) Verses for initiating a paritta cycle
(ye santā santacittā…)

(7) Rājato
(rājato vā corato vā manussato vā…)

(8) Maṅgala Sutta
(Sn. 46-7)

(9) Jayamaṅgala-aṭṭhagāthā
(bāhuṃ sahassamabhinimmitasāvudhantaṃ…)

(10) Bhojanasuttagāthā
(= AN. iii. 42)

(11) The Bodhisatta’s ten perfections / Itipi so mahājaya
(Itipi so bhagavā dānapāramīsampanno…)

(12) Temiyo / Ten former lives of the Buddha
(temiyo nāma bhagavā…)

(13) Sukho Buddhānaṃ
(comprising Dhp. 194, verses from the Mahākappina Sutta, SN. ii. 284, and Dhp. 204)

(14) Taṅkhaṇikapaccavekkhaṇaṃ (morning) / Atītapaccavekkhaṇaṃ (evening)

(15) Dhātupaṭikūlapaccavekkhaṇaṃ

(16) Pattidānagāthā (morning), Uddissanādhiṭṭhānagāthā (evening)

(17) Asking forgiveness of Triple Gem, etc.
(vandāmi buddhaṃ sabbaṃ me dosaṃ…)

(18) Asking forgiveness of senior monk
(vandāmi bhante sabbaṃ aparādhaṃ…)

(19) Therābhithutigāthāyo
(verses praising the merits of Khrubar Srivichai and Khrubar Prommajak)

Parts 1-2 and 13-19 are chanted every day, so I won’t list them again.

3rd day of waxing or waning moon

(1) Namakārasiddhigāthā
(yo cakkhumā mohamalāpakaṭṭho…)

(2) Namokāraṭṭhakagāthā
(namo arahato sammāsambuddhassa mahesino…)

(3) Ratana Sutta
(Sn. 38-42)

(4) Cullamaṅgalacakkavāḷa

(5) Verses from the Aggappasāda Sutta
(AN. ii. 35)

(6) Keṇiyānumodanagāthāyo
(= verses starting aggihuttaṃ mukhā yaññā… in the Sn’s Sela Sutta)

5th day of waxing or waning moon

(1) Karaṇīyametta Sutta
(Sn. 25-6)

(2) Khandha Paritta
(= verses from the Ahirāja Sutta, AN. ii. 72-3)

(3) Mora Paritta
(= verses from the Mora Jātaka, Jāt. ii. 33-4)

(4) Vaṭṭaka Paritta
(= verses from Vaṭṭaka Jātaka, Jāt. i. 214-5)

(5) Mahāmaṅgalacakkavāḷa

(6) Vihāradānagāthā
(= Vin. ii. 147-8. sītaṃ uṇhaṃ paṭihanti…)

7th day of waxing or waning moon

(1) Dhajagga Sutta
(SN. i. 218-20)

(2) Ratanattayappabhāvasiddhigāthā
(arahaṃ sammāsambuddho lokānaṃ anukampako…)

(3) Devatādissadakkhiṇānumodanāgāthā
(verses from the DN’s Mahāsudassana Sutta or Udāna’s Pāṭaligāmiya Sutta. yasmiṃ padese kappeti…)

(4) Devatābhisammantanagāthā
(yānīdha bhūtāni samāgatāni…)

Morning chanting for the Aṭṭhaṃī Uposatha

(1) Aṭṭhavīsatibuddha Paritta
(namo me sabbabuddhānaṃ dvattiṃsā varalakkhaṇo…)

(2) Metteyyo
(metteyyo uttaro rāmo…)

(3) Verses relating to the four protective meditations:

(3.1) Buddhānussati
(anantā vitthāraguṇaṃ…)
(3.2) Mettabhāvanā
(attuppamāya sabbesaṃ sattānaṃ…)
(3.3) Asubha
(aviññāṇasubhanibhaṃ saviññāṇasubhaṃ…)
(3.4) Maraṇānussati
(pavātādipatulyā yassāyusantatiyā khayaṃ…)

(4) Vipassanābhūmipāṭha
(pañcakkhandhā rūpakkhandho…)

(5) Mettāpharaṇa
(puratthimāya disāya puratthimāya anudisāya…)

(6) Buddho Sabbaññū
(buddho sabbaññū taññāṇo…)

(7) Buddho Maṅgalasambhūto
(buddho maṅgalasambhūto sambuddho dīpaduttamo…)

Evening chanting for all Uposatha days

(1) Asking forgiveness of the Five Jewels
(namāmi buddhaṃ guṇasāgarantaṃ…)

(2) Lanna Uposatha day vandanā
(yo sannisinno varabodhimūle…)

(3) Kammaṭṭhāna - a long chant comprising the pubbabhāga and saraṇagamanaṃ, verse summaries of the first three anussatis and kāyagatāsati, Dhammapada 41, the four elements, five khandhas, three characteristics, and verses to the Vepullapabbata Sutta.

(4) Pañca Mahāpariccāga - a very long (and for me deadly boring) vandanā that pays homage to almost everything that’s sacred in the cakkavāḷa.

9th day of waxing or waning moon

(1) Āṭānāṭiya Paritta

(2) Aṅgulimāla Paritta

(3) Bojjhaṅga Paritta

(4) Abhaya Paritta

(5) Devatā Uyyojanagāthā

(6) Jaya Paritta

(7) Hiri-ottappasampannā

11th day of waxing or waning moon

(1) Dhammasaṅgiṇī mātikā
(kusalā dhammā akusalā dhammā…)

(2) Vinaya
(= opening paragraphs of the first pārājika’s origin story)

(3) Sutta
(= opening paragraphs of the Brahmajāla Sutta)

(4) Opening paragraphs of the seven books of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka…

(4.1) Dhammasaṅgaṇī
(4.2) Vibhaṅga
(4.3) Dhātukathā
(4.4) Puggalapaññati
(4.5) Kathāvatthu
(4.6) Yamaka
(4.7) Mahāpaṭṭhāna

(5) Sappaccayā
(= Cūḷantaradukka passage of the Dhammasaṅgaṇī)

(6) Paṃsukūla
(6.1) For the deceased
(6.2) For self-reflection
(6.3) For the living

(7) Tirokuḍḍakaṇḍapacchimabhāga
(= last four verses of the Tirokuḍḍa Sutta)

13th day of waxing or waning moon

(1) Pabbatopamagāthā
(= verses from the Pabbatūpama Sutta, SN. i. 101-2)

(2) Ariyadhanagāthā
(= verses from the Dalidda Sutta, SN. i. 232, or Theragāthā verses of Sirimitta)

(3) Dhammaniyāma Sutta
(aka Uppāda Sutta, AN. i. 286)

(4) Tilakkhaṇādigāthā
(= Dhp. 277-279, & 85-89)

(5) Paṭiccasamuppāda anuloma and paṭiloma

(6) Paṭhamabuddhabhāsitagāthā
(= Dhp. 153)

(7) Buddha-udānagāthā
(= verses to the first three suttas of the Udāna)

(8) Bhaddekarattagāthā
(= verses to the MN’s Bhaddekaratta Suttas)

(9) Devatā-uyyojanagāthā
(dukkhappattā ca niddukkhā…)

Morning chanting for full moon and new moon Uposathas

(1) Paṭiccasamuppāda anuloma and paṭiloma

(2) Paṭhamabuddhabhāsitagāthā
(= Dhp. 153)

(3) Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

(4) Yo dhīro
(comprising verses from Vin. i. 38, Vin. i. 40 and the Udāna’s Sāriputta Sutta)

(5) Yo kho Ānanda
(= the Buddha’s last speech in the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta)

(6) Ākāsaṭṭhā
(ākāsaṭṭhā ca bhummaṭṭhā devā…)

(7) Buddho Sabbaññū
(buddho sabbaññū taññāṇo…)

(8) Buddho Maṅgalasambhūto
(buddho maṅgalasambhūto sambuddho dīpaduttamo…)

Now that I’m living alone, although I still more or less follow the above cycle, I have made a few supplements and a few replacements of those chants that I find tedious. The shorter ones listed below I chant in full every day, while the longer ones are spread over several days.


(1) Dasadhamma Sutta
(aka Pabbajita-abhiṇha Sutta, AN. vi. 87-8)

(2) Bhikkhupātimokkha
(I recite a third of it each day)

Sutta passages customarily chanted in Thailand after a Pātimokkha recital:

(3) Ovādapātimokkha
(= Dhp. 184, 183, 185)

(4) Verses from Tāyana Sutta
(SN. i. 49)

(5) Aparihāniyādhamma Sutta
(aka Paṭhamasattaka Sutta, AN. iv. 21-2)

(6) Chasārāṇīyadhamma Sutta
(AN. iii. 288-9)


(1) Thirty-two marks of a Great Man in the Lakkhaṇa Sutta
(chanted daily as I do a visualisation practice based on them)

(2) Twenty suttas in the SN’s Ānāpānasaṃyutta

(3) Ānāpānakathā in the Paṭisambhidāmagga

(4) Full versions of the sutta passages cited in brief in the Visuddhimagga’s Brahmavihāra chapter


(1) Aṭṭhaka and Parāyana Vaggas of the Suttanipāta

(2) DN’s Saṅgīti and Dasuttara Suttas

(3) Visuddhimagga’s chapter on the five aggregates
(Path of Purification ch. XIV)

(3) Sutta passages quoted in the Visuddhimagga’s chapter on the faculties and truths
(Path of Purification ch. XVI)

(5) Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha chapters 1, 2 & 6.


(1) Mahāsamaya Sutta
(because it’s beautiful to chant and I want to be on friendly terms with any yakkhas, gandhabbas, nāgas, etc. that might be hanging around)

(2) Āṭānāṭiya Sutta

(3) Uppātasanti
(I’m not really sold on this one, but it was a great favourite of my late Burmese Pali teacher, so I chant it once a month for auld lang syne)

(4) Abhiṇhapaccavekkhaṇaṃ

(5) Salla Sutta
(Sn. 112-113)

(6) Sigalovāda Sutta

(7) Parābhava Sutta

The last two are useful to know if you’re unexpectedly called on to give a talk to laypeople and can’t think of anything to say. Likewise with the Salla Sutta if it’s a funeral sermon that’s required.


Ven., if you were to pick 60 min. worth (you can chant as fast as you like, and leave out repetitions) of the most important suttas of your chanting book, which suttas make the cut?

Let’s say it’s like the AN 10.60 Girimananda scenario. You’re about to die, and instead of recovering from the illness you actually die, and are reborn in a deva realm. But you only retain part of your human memory, that one hours worth of chanting you designated as the most important.

And let’s say you live isolated from genuine dhamma, so what you memorize needs to be able to take you to nirvana, and also teach others the same.

What’s in that 60 minutes of chanting?


I should probably start with all the sutta passages quoted in the Paññā section of the Visuddhimagga. After that if there was any time left (I don’t know if there would be as I’ve never tried reciting them all at once) then I’d proceed to the Aṭṭhaka and Parāyana vaggas.