May you enjoy this truly eclectic song inspired by an American Buddhist monk, who translated classical verses from Chinese texts, set to a melody by a Canadian composer, sung by a Roman Catholic hermit with an added Sanskrit peace mantra to bring it full circle.
Click below to listen (you can also download here):
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While attending a conference, when the Abbot of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas and Rev Heng Sure were invited to offer a song to dedicate the merit of the conference - a Buddhist practice of sharing with the world all the goodness created by any wholesome action.They accepted the challenge and the night before the conference concluded, they managed to translate into English the 1300 year-old Chinese Buddhist verse. Needing a tune, Rev Heng Sure's thoughts spontaneously recalled Ms McKennitt's "Dark Night of the Soul." As he notes, "I matched our translation and her melody and they joined like body and soul."
Rev Heng Sure continues:
"At another Buddhist-Christian meeting, after I heard Cyprian Consiglio, a Christian monk and fellow guitar player, lead the singing of intercessory prayers, I said to him, "We Buddhists have the same kind of practice," and told him about the song. After hearing it sung by my Buddhist congregation, he asked if he might sing it.
He and his collaborator, John Pennington, adapted it a bit from my version, adding percussion, and a Sanskrit chant, the metta bhavana mantra. Since that day, Cyprian has performed the song to conclude liturgies and concerts around the globe, from India to Italy, from New Jersey to New Mexico. He calls it "Compassionate and Wise" and he reports the same response: people feel healed by the tune.
Fr. Cyprian introduces it this way: "This is an intercessory prayer taught to me by my Buddhist brother monk, Rev. Heng Sure. The lyric is translated from Chinese and its melodic setting was written by a gifted Canadian composer, Loreena McKennitt. She wrote the melody for a verse by a Catholic Mystic, St. John of the Cross. I'm a Roman Catholic hermit and I've added a Sanskrit peace mantra to bring it full circle. I'm on this bridge to world peace and I'm staying on it!" (Fr. Cyprian's new CD "Compassionate and Wise" is available on iTunes.)
Om Tryambakam Yajamahe Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam Urvarukamiva Bandhanan Mrityor Mukshiya Maamritat.
(We meditate on the Three-eyed reality, that nourishes and permeates all like a fragrance. May we not be without the nectar of immortality. May we be free from the bondage of death.)