A Blessing of Peace and Harmony
at World Festival of Sacred Music - LA
with Kunzang Rinpoche and the Monks and Nuns of Zangdokpalri
High in the mountains of Northeastern India lies the Tibetan holy refuge of Zangdokpalri Monastery, home to over 150 monks and nuns and their spiritual ‘Terton’, the venerable Kun-zang Detchen Lingpa Rinpoche; a realized master of Dzogchen tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. For over thirty years he has led the Monks and Nuns in their chants, music and dance in honor of the divine feminine. Recently he has had dream visions guiding the creation of healing ceremonies using music, dance and chanting. The visions tell him to take these healing ceremonies out into the world, to the west, in particular, to the United States.
At UCLA’s Royce Hall, preparations are feverishly underway to host the opening gala performance for L.A.’s sacred music extravaganza, The World Festival of Sacred Music. The festival’s heart and ground find form in the endlessly generous spirit of its director, Judy Mitoma, and her tireless staff who have chosen and coordinate fifty-five sacred music events scheduled at venues throughout the greater Los Angeles region over a sixteen day period from September 14th through the 29th.
The inspiration behind this colossal undertaking is none other than the great spiritual spokesman for Tibet in Exile, His Holiness The Dalai Lama. At the 1999 World Festival of Sacred Music, he shared his vision: “ Music symbolizes the yearning for harmony, within oneself and with others, with nature, and with the spiritual and sacred within us and around us. There is something in music that transcends and unites. This is evident in the sacred music of every community — music that expresses the universal yearning shared by people all over the globe.”
The intermixing of all this sacred music creates an overtone in our community that can bring healing and inspiration to us all. We in turn can take that feeling and share it with everyone we meet. This sense of our higher potential was evident at the sharing of all participants at the unveiling of this year’s festival brochure. Many spoke of the incredible effect the 1999 Festival had on bringing an increased awareness of each other’s music and sacred traditions. Also apparent was the struggle the tragedy of ‘9/11’ has left in our hearts and minds. Whether it’s Salam/Shalom’s Jewish and Middle Eastern sharing or the Whirling Dervishes of Damascas, the focus on world peace and harmony shows the natural ability of music to strike a chord of unity in our hearts. Kunzang Rinpoche personifies this active listening to the divine. His visions are considered revelations from Guru Rinpoche, the Lotus Born One who, along with his two female enlightened companions, Yeshe Tsogyal and Mandarava, brought Diamond Path Buddhism to Tibet over 1200 years ago.
Kunzang Rinpoche will open the festival at Royce Hall, UCLA, Sept. 14 with a Tibetan ceremony of blessing and harmony. (see festivalofsacredmusic.org) These ceremonies are performed not only to progress the spiritual state of the audience, but also to have a pacifying and purifying effect on the outer world. No matter one’s religious orientation or background, the universal spiritual impulse will heighten one’s own relationship with the divine in whatever tradition one follows.
The slow and pounding accompaniment by traditional Tibetan instruments, including long horns (Radung), short horns/flutes (Jaling), large drums and cymbals, creates an otherworldly atmosphere of revery and awe. Such music and chanting are performed to quell animosity, reduce atmospheric disturbances, improve the health and welfare of communities and promote peace and harmony for all living things.
Indeed, in the northeastern area of India from which Kunzang Rinpoche comes, he has become renowned for this work. Since he has been performing his rites and rituals, there has been a radical change in the near-drought conditions of this impoverished area. Every year crops are better, rain falls more consistently, and there has been a decrease in disease, disharmony and unhappiness.
In the final analysis, these ceremonies are not solely cultural artifacts or feats of musical or artistic virtuosity. They are an expression of enlightened activity in this world, a manifestation of Sacred Space, brought forth by Kunzang Rinpoche and the devoted Nuns and Lamas, who act as pure, ego-less vessels for this divine feminine principle. Their mission, ‘to spread peace and wakefullness in all beings’ remains at the core of their life and activity.
One of the most beautiful ceremonies for healing and quickening the spiritual impulse is called, “Healing Chö”. It’s a cycle of four rituals, performed sequentially. Each is designed to loosen, pacify and eradicate obstacles to personal wellness. These ceremonies have uniquely haunting melodies, aided by the hand drum, bell and bone trumpet. Each ritual is conducted with audience participants lying on their sides. There is no discourse to listen to, instructions to follow or technique to learn. Just bring your favorite pillow, towel or mat and rest. Healing Chö is suitable for all, young and old, and for any type or stage of physical or psychological illness, as well as for accelerating spiritual transformation.
Having undertaken to make these powerful rituals available to all, Kunzang Rinpoche and the nuns and lamas will conduct a 2-day Healing Chö ceremony at: STEWART HALL at Temescal Canyon State Park in Pacific Palisades on Sat. & Sun, Sept. 28 & 29th from 11 am to 5 pm. Suggested donation is $75 per person per day. It is considered valuable to attend both days to receive all four sequential ceremonies to get the full healing impact. (One and a half hour break time per day is included)
For questions, tickets and donations call: (310) 403-9198. Tickets will also be available at the door.
Return to the September/October Index page