Notes from the composer/producer

My intention with these original adaptations was to present the majesty of these sacred syllables in a completely different light, and I received my own transmission from many diverse sources. But long before composing a note or even attempting a musical rendering, I spent weeks reading and learning, absorbing, feeling. Much time was spent studying the Tibetan scripts themselves, to the point that I found slight variations even in the definitive versions from one source to another, which was confusing at first. But as I quickly learned, Tibetans in various regions can pronounce and interpret these same Mantras slightly differently, all depending on the way each person has been taught. Conceptually, as Buddhism is so vast, I wanted a specific angle and was already curious about the different hand gestures of the great Buddha, having a particular affinity for what I know now to be Shakyamuni in the earth witness mudra.

As I continued, a common theme for the album took place: the Five Meditating Buddhas, each with a unique set of attributes, each a fascinating study in both the human potential and the human failings. Something that has long been one of my favorite subjects. And then everything became very clear. I would write music for these great Mantras the only way I could, completely intuitively, without worrying whether or not the end result would match my initial preconception. At that point something magical happened - melodies began to appear one after the other quite spontaneously, each with a vibration that echoed its namesake.

In these interpretations, all while giving the Mantras a melodic treatment that is quite estranged from the time honored methods, we have also made a conscious effort to faithfully reproduce the traditional Tibetan pronunciations - a marriage of old and new. The beauty is that the Mantras’ inherent transformative power upholds the musical translation. For although they are undoubtedly "mind tools" of the highest magnitude, their capacity to effect change still relies on an indispensable premise: the opening of another chakra - one’s own heart. Only then can their wondrous properties begin to blossom, much like the lotus which rises magnificently from the muddy swamp in which it was conceived. And last time I checked, the heart wasn't overly concerned with etymology or ritual tradition - it was too busy feeling. The Buddhist Mantras hold the capacity to stir profound feelings in many various contexts. I hope sincerely that these new adaptations become catalysts for spiritual growth in each of your lives as they have in my own.

 

- Bradfield, August 2005