The Monks of Sherabling Monastery

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The Monks of Sherabling Monastery

Tibetan chant wins Grammy


BBC 9 February, 2004

The nomination

Buddhist monks at a monastery in the Indian Himalayas won a Grammy award for their Tibetan chants.

The nomination and then the award for the Sacred Tibetan Chants: The Monks of Sherab Ling Monastery (Naxos World) by Tibetan Monks of Palpung Sherab Ling Monastery, near the Bir Tibetan settlement, for Best Traditional World Music Album Award was announced in Beverly Hills, California, on December 4, 2003. The nomination came as a big surprise and a source of joy not only for the monks of Sherabling but also for the Tibetans all over the world.

When Tenam Lama, from the Palpung Sherab Ling Monastery, received the award at the 46th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, history was created. This was the second nomination for Tibetans/ Indian Buddhists to the Grammy.

The monks' CD, Sacred Tibetan Chant: The Monks of Sherab Ling Monastery, won Best Traditional World Music Album (Vocal or Instrumental) at the Grammys.

The CD, released in Jan 2003, features senior chanting masters Kalzang Yeshe, Norbu Gyaltsen, Tinley Gyurme and six other monks.

The recording was made at the Sherabling Monastery and was aided by one of its centres in New Zealand.

The CD contains sacred Tibetan chants, meditation prayers and other rituals observed at the beginning and end of the day at the Sherab Ling monastery.

These are sacred chants, not commercial songs, the monks say

Some of the sacred chants date back to the 7th Century, when they originated in monasteries and were brought to India by devotees.

The monks’ music

The monks of Sherab Ling have recorded Buddhist chants, Mahamudra Lineage Prayer & Meditation, Mahakala Puja (Yeshe Gonpo), Invocation and offering to Mahakala, and receiving blessings and dedicating the merit to world peace and harmony. It presents the lineage prayer with which the monks of Sherab Ling Monastery begin their day, offering respect to a line of great meditation practitioners going back as far as the seventh century. It also includes part of each day’s closing ritual in which the monks perform purification and dedication to all sentient creatures.

Lobsang Wangyal, who organised the first ever Tibetan music awards in 2003 told TibetNet that the Grammy will lead to more awareness about Tibetan religious chants by which the healing power that the chants are believed to have will be understood and felt by the world.

Monks who participated in the recording include senior chant-leaders Kalsang Yeshe, Norbu Gyaltsen, Thinley Gyurme, Namgyal, chant-leaders Yeshe Gyaltsen, Tsultrim Woser, Lodoe Gyaltsen Dawa, Phurpa Dorje, Tenpa, Dawa Rinchen, and Sonam Yarphel.

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