The Power of the Word – a justification

The value of reading out loud, and recording, and listening to useful teachings comes from their being expressions of the truth.  It does not depend on their being read with a mellifluous voice, or on the translation.  Something deeper is at work, which I call the esoteric power of the word.

One part of Aryasura’s Aspirational Prayer in 70 Stanzas says,

May all these beings be tamed
by relying on the sphere of action of my speech…

and he is referring to something more than mere eloquence, or to a pleasing or authoritative sounding voice.  That “sphere of activity” of his speech refers to the function of the truth that is in his mind.  This is something mysterious and profound, communicating mind to mind, where time is not a barrier, or distance; and where race, culture, language, and social status are all transcended.

Christians have long knows of this hidden aspect of the word, or idea, how it communicates power and blessing, and how it can inspire and guide us beyond what is specifically said.  Through reading or listening, to be in touch with the Word is to be in touch with the Author of the Word, and in the case of a holy book, or teaching, it is to be put in touch with Truth Itself.

The Power of Truth in Buddhism also has a long honored tradition.  Several early prayers recount teachings of the Buddha, and then conclude to the effect of, “because of the truth of these words, may our noble aspirations be fulfilled”.

A recent commentator to this tradition, Piyadassi Thera, described the process of recalling the teachings as having the purpose of uplifting the mind of the listeners, even temporarily, to that level, where there is natural grace in abundance.

When it comes to spiritual subjects, a reading doesn’t get its worth then from production values, or from classically appealing voices, or from scholarly translations.  The value flows through these forms, to reach and to nurture generations of hearers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *