Chanting words are for preserving the content of Scipture. It helps us to gain confidence. Chanting cannot help us to get rid of defilement as much as meditation. Concentration is the direct method of getting rid of defilement by stilling the mind.
During chanting, if the mind wanders, it will not be as peaceful as it should be; just chanting alone will not lead to enlightenment. If chanting and practising take place at the same time, enlightenment will be achieved. So there is a saying, “Chanting is medicine for application, Concentration is medicine for taking.” When we have fever, if we use medicine for application, we will not recover, only taking it will make us get well.
Most people get attached to chanting, addicted to medicine for application, and will not take any medicine ‘through their mouths’. Consequently, they do not get well. Their mind will remain defiled until they concentrate. It is necessary to meditate in order to get well and get rid of the defilement. Concentration is necessary to penetrate through the mind so we can see our own defilement and get rid of it.