Last month, we had the great pleasure to offer to Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche and the community gathered at the Dzongsar Khyentse Chokyi Lodro Institute in Chauntra, India, the musical performance of “Countless Buddhas” – the seven-branch practice taken from the Noble King of Aspirations to Sublime Conduct, often referred to as the Samantabhadra Prayer. (This excerpt together with the video recording and an audio from a rehearsal are given at the bottom of this page. )
The entire prayer of the Aspirations to Sublime Conduct (above) was translated and put into verse by me and James Gattuso, with the intention to produce an elegant metered version, complete in meaning and beautiful in rhythm and melody, to inspire musical interpretations and performances. This project is very dear to my heart and I am therefore overjoyed to see it come to fruition.
The use of the arts in general, and in particular of song and music, is such a wonderful means to express and share feelings of inspiration and devotion. This becomes even more powerful when practiced in groups. As a culture, the Western world is relatively new to the teachings of the Buddha. As we are still discovering the vastness and depth of the Dharma, we are also exploring our own new ways to integrate it into our cultures. This translation and the performance of the seven-branch practice are small contributions towards this aim, with the aspiration for many more to follow.
Please read, listen, sing, enjoy, and share widely.
I would like to thank everyone involved in the production of this piece, in particular my co-translator James Gattuso, our conductor Jamie Creek, who also made the musical arrangement for this performance, and the entire choir, composed of (as seen in the video, from left to right): Alicja Żmigrodzka, Margherita d’Errico, Inna German, Alex Swanson, Christian Bernert, Sera Delprado, Star Pulsford, Kelly Tracey, Drew May, Michael Macioce, and Jamie Creek.
Thank you all so much!
Christian Bernert, in Bir (HP, India), on November 13, 2022.