The fourteenth Dalai Lama, formally known as Lhamo Dhondup, is releasing an album of mantras and teachings enrobed by wonderfully spiritual backing music. The Dalai Lama who has been the spiritual leader of Tibet since 1950 and held temporal powers for over 60 years, is an inspiration to many across the globe.
The first single of the Lama’s upcoming album Inner World is called ‘Compassion’. As I listened to the single for the first time, I found myself transported out of my hunched-over and overly anxious self and into a place of meditative reflection. The track is anchored by an everpresent bass and is elevated by the use of ethereal sounds, which when coupled with his Holiness’ chanting creates a heavenly union.
A spiritual leader venturing into the world of music might be disconcerting to some. However, this album was created to celebrate the Dalai Lama’s 85th birthday, for which the proceeds will be donated to the Mind and Life Institute and Social, Emotional and Ethical Learning charities that the Lama patronizes. The charitable institutions which will receive any proceeds generated by Inner World are devoted to the development of positive mental health. The Dalai Lama believes in music’s ability to “transcend differences and return us to our true nature and our good-heartedness” and hopefully, this album will bring other listeners the peace I experienced.
“Om mani Padme hum” is the main refrain of ‘Compassion’. This common Buddhist mantra, put simply, means the path to the “pure exalted body” and towards the mind of a buddha and the dependence on a path of method and wisdom. This message of a continuous path of learning with the intention to become enlightened and full of love is relevant now, more than ever. The #BlackLivesMatter movement is asking white people to educate themselves to better understand the struggle people of colour experience and ‘Compassion’ echoes this sentiment in its teaching.
The Dalai Lama has been in exile since 1959 because of his stance against Chinese rule in Tibet. The violent and anti-religious rule of the Chinese government, who are even meddling in the continuation of the cycle of the Dalai Lama’s, is rejected by most Tibetans.
‘Compassion’ was initially pitched by Junelle Kunin as “stress relief”. While listening to this first track of the album, I felt my constant worry fade into oblivion and the constant humming in my brain (which many of us experience) ceased, allowing clarity for the first time in a long time.
While classical and instrumental music is not my typical choice of listening this may have just convinced me. The teachings of Buddhism are universally applicable if you’re a believer or not, and anyway, the Dalai Lama has a wonderful voice!
Listen to ‘Compassion’ and feel all the feelings below: