Rain of Blessings: Track by Track

Discover the inspiration behind the Tibetan chants

Lama Gyurme ascribes to Tibetan Buddhism as a way of life. He rightly considers his voice a gift to be shared with the world, and elicits emotional responses from audiences around the world. The extraordinary gutteral incantations of the Bhutan-born, France-based lama, accompanied by the blind French pianist Jean-Philippe Rykiel, are showcased on their Real World debut Rain of Blessings: Vajra Chants.

This track by track is written by Lama Tcheuky, translated by Sophie Dutordoir

1. Rain of Blessings

Blessing

Any Tibetan ritual bears a relationship to a ‘divinity’, a luminous aspect of the perfect purity of Enlightenment, an aspect of Buddha himself. A phase of the ceremony— hallmarked by a particularly high degree of solemnity— consists in bringing down the blessing of the divinity upon the devotee. This blessing is considered to be the active force which transforms the meditator, so that the power of the awakened spirit enters into his consciousness. In this chant Lama Gyurme calls down the blessing of the longevity ritual.

 

2. Offering Chant

Offering

Offering is an essential aspect of Buddhism. It leads to the broadening of one’s spirit in an ever expanding dimension, whereas keeping things for oneself prevents an opening to the world.  Space makes room for happiness whereas confinement holds us back in a state of suffering. Generosity extends itself to those in material need or inwardly in pain. It also unfolds itself, as in this chant, towards the Buddhas and all awakened beings: the practitioner thinks of himself as offering in spirit all the universes, all the beauties and all the wealth they contain; thus he is able to offer more and more, as he continually opens himself to the dimensions of the infinite.

 

3. Medicine Buddha Mantra

Healing

In his infinite compassion, the Buddha seeks to bring relief  to all forms of suffering. To heal the sick, he manifests himself as a mystical form called ‘Medicine Buddha’, appearing in a blue body of light whose colour is similar to that of the lapis-lazuli. It is in this guise that he revealed the foundations of Buddhist medicine which is still practised today in Tibet. It is also the ritual and the mantras (short incantations) of this lapis-lazuli Buddha which are performed and recited for the sick.

 

4. Sacred Words of Liberation

Purification

The Buddha teaches that suffering is not a random phenomena, no more than it is handed out by a superior divinity. In reality, individuals are responsible for their own destiny, reaping in one life the product of what their deeds in a previous life have implanted in the mysterious depths of their consciousness. Just like a skilful psychoanalyst seeks to clear the subconscious of his patients, the Buddha has provided methods to purify the spirit of the negative imprints brought forward from past lives and which carry suffering. Lama Gyurme here recites two incantations (the Vajrasattva mantra and the Liberation Sutra mantra) especially dedicated to this purpose.

 

5. Prayer to Sangye Menla

Prayer

This prayer addressed to the Medicine Buddha is calling for his intervention. The request is not limited to the mystical realm as good doctors and effective remedies are also expressions of the Medicine Buddha’s activities in our world. Praying is thus in no way at odds with terrestrial care; they harmoniously complete each other.

 

6. Chenrezi Pure Land Prayer

Liberation

Chenrezi is a divinity personifying compassion and universal love, love which is unconditional and unattached, always giving and never seeking to receive. Pure spirit, Chenrezi, manifests himself on different planes in order to rescue sufferers. On the earth plane, for instance, we consider that he incarnates as the Dalai Lama. But he also dwells in the form of light in a celestial realm called ‘Field of Beatitude’, ready to greet all those who, after their death, are able to ascend to him. The prayer enabling rebirth in this field of purity wherein one is liberated from all suffering is thus very frequently recited by the Tibetans.

 

7. The Six Syllable Mantra of the White Lotus Lord

Compassion

In his celestial form, Chenrezi possesses a white body of light, holds a crystal rosary in his right hand and a white lotus in his left. Thus he is often called the ‘White Lotus Lord’. His mantra, om mani padme hung, is extremely popular in Tibet. Elders and youngsters, monks and laymen, the illiterate and the learned, all recite it with fervour, convinced that the sound it gives off brings peace and happiness to all beings— humans and animals as well as invisible ones. To the faithful this mantra represents the vector of compassion which they nurture to the benefit of all that lives.

 

8. Refuge & Sevenfold Offering

Protection

Each day, the Buddhist recites the ‘Taking of Refuge’. He thereby places himself —as well as all beings— under the protection of Buddha, its teaching (which the Buddhist attempts to practise daily), and the community of those who are transmitting these teachings. This protection is not considered as a magical help but rather as supporting the individual efforts undertaken by the practitioner in order to live rightly in the world and to ultimately attain liberation.

 

9. Offering Chant (Unplugged Version)

Dedication For Peace

  • Rain of Blessings: Vajra Chants

    Lama Gyurme & Jean-Philippe Rykiel

    Released 06 March 2000

    The meeting of a Tibetan Buddhist monk of the ancient Kagyupa School, messenger of one of the most ancient philosophies, and a French musician known for his mastery of the keyboards. This is an album of powerful chants with lush textures that capture the serenity of the Tibetan monasteries.

By Oran Mullan

Published on Tue, 20 September 16

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