About this Recording
76044-2 - TIBET - Sherab Ling Monks: Sacred Tibetan Chant
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Sacred Tibetan Chant

1. Mahamudra Lineage Prayer & Meditation

2&3. Mahakala Puja (Yeshe Gonpo)

a. Invocation and offering to Mahakala

b. Receiving blessings and dedicating the merit to world peace and harmony

The Monks of Sherab Ling Monastery

Senior Chanting Masters

Kalzang Yeshe • Norbu Gyaltsen

Tinley Gyurme • Namgyal

Chanting Masters

Yeshe Gyatsal • Tsultrim Ozer • Lodro

Gyaltsen Dawa • Phurpa Dorje

Tenpa Dawa Rinchen • Sonam Yarphel

This live recording was made during actual ceremonies and includes the natural ambient sounds of normal activity / Die vorliegende Live-Aufnahme entstand während einer regelrechten Zeremonie; deswegen sind auch die dabei üblichen Nebengeräusche zu hören / Cet enregistrement sur le vif a été effectué au cours de cérémonies courantes et comporte des bruits de fond générés par les activités normales de ces cérémonies

Over many centuries, the prayer ceremonies on this CD have been performed

by the Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns of the Karma Kagyu lineage, forming part of the foundation of their daily lives. These ceremonies originated in the great Buddhist monasteries of Tibet, and have been brought by the devoted practitioners to India, their land of refuge, where they continue this ancient tradition.

The day begins with the recitation of the Lineage Prayer. This pays respect to the lineage of accomplished Kagyu meditation masters such as the great Buddhist Mahasiddha Tilopa, the scholar Naropa from the famed Nalanda University and Marpa the great translator. It recognises the line of renowned Kagyu practitioners dating as far back as the 7th century through to the present day and His Holiness XVII Gyalwa Karmapa, Urgyen Trinley Dorje.

In the evening, the Mahakala practice is part of the completion of the day, asking for purification and dedicating the blessings to all sentient beings.

Apart from the time each day that is dedicated to prayer, the monks learn the

ritual life of the monastery through practical experience, including learning to play instruments, memorising texts, special chanting, making torma (offerings) and practising mudras (symbolic gestures).

Prospective monks come to Sherab Ling through several ways. Many are from orphanages in the Himalayas and come to receive care and education which is freely provided. There are also refugees from Tibet, who are referred to Sherab Ling through the Tibetan Government in exile in Dharamsala, India. Some are referred from other monasteries to further their education; to join the shedra (monastic college) or the three-year retreat. Some are offered to the monastery as children by parents who have sincere faith in His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche and wish to offer their most precious possession, their child. When they enter the school they are given robes and receive a monastic education that includes reading and writing, and they are completely supported by the monastery for no charge.

The prayer monks are comprised of monks who have completed their studies, and Lamas who have passed through the three year retreat. They are responsible for the daily, monthly and annual prayers in the temple, as well as any special prayers that are requested.

In Tibet, the seat of His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche is the great Palpung

Monastery. Sherab Ling (Land of Wisdom) Monastery is his seat in exile. It is nestled in the gentle pine forested foothills of the Kangra Valley. The sound of the monks’ prayers resound in the clear mountain air. The monastery is blessed with an ideal environment for religious study and practice.

The surrounding thirty acres of land are shaped by three south sloping ridges. Only one road runs through the valley to the monastery, but there are also natural footpaths and tracks that wind around through the forest. The development of the monastery has been planned to conform to the natural environment so as not to harm the growth of the native trees and plants.

The lineage of His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche can be traced back to the 6th and 7th centuries in India to the Mahasiddha Dronpe Heruka, and to 1012 in Tibet to Marpa Lotsawa. The first Tai Situpa was Drogon Rongchenpa in 1110. This is a direct lineage that continues through to the present day. H. E. Tai Situ Rinpoche is a leading Tibetan Buddhist teacher and a campaigner for active peace. He is also an artist, poet, author, architect and geomancer (practitioner of natural balance and ecology). He will be the 5th Buddha, Maitreya, predicted by Buddha Shakyamuni in the Samadha-ya Raja Sutra.

The Instruments

In this recording there are many of the traditional instruments that the Tibetan monks and nuns learn during their studies at the monastery or nunnery:

The Nga Chin is the massive temple drum, played with two padded drumsticks, producing an impressive sonority that echoes around the Gompa (temple).

The Gyaling is similar to an oboe, with a reed that sits in the mouth. It is blown continuously using the circular breathing technique of forcing breath out with the cheeks while breathing in through the nose at the same time. This is an exceptionally difficult instrument to master.

The Radung are long horns, similar to alpine horns with no valves. These are usually about 6 feet (1.8m) in length, but can be as long as 10 feet (3m). The longer the horn, the more difficult it is to play, as it requires much breath. The musicians must become adept at the circular breathing technique in order to hold the notes for extended periods of time.

The Kungling is a valveless trumpet also played by the Gyaling players.

The Sil-Nyen and Rol-Mo are the flat and bulbous cymbals which accompany the prayer chants. They are played primarily during the intervals in the prayer sessions, building to a crescendo before the chanting resumes.

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