American Gatha

Scott A. Mitchell is trying to understand the role of music in Jodo Shinshu Buddhist culture. Mitchell is currently a teacher at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, California. He is also a co-contributor to the Dharma Realm podcast.

His project is called American Gatha. Mitchell wants to go beyond the gathas we sing and the sutras we chant. He sees a new generation integrating music like never before.

I’m interested in the types of music being composed, performed, and played within US Shin Buddhist communities today, who’s making this music, and why. My long-term goal is to write a book on the subject which will focus primarily on music performed as practice during Shin Buddhist rituals, services, and celebrations. I am curious about the place of music-as-practice within the borader context of Shin Buddhist ritual/practice life. How does music making compare to, say, reciting the nembutsu, reading a book about Buddhism, mediation, or hearing a Dharma talk? --Scott Mitchell

Scott Mitchell wants to know what is happening today and he is looking for your help. Check out the website, and maybe add your own contributions.