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World Music CD Reviews Asia & Far East

THE MONKS OF SHERAB LING MONASTERY

By STACY MEYN
Published May 5, 2006

Sacred Tibetan Chant
Naxos World

Exile to India hasn’t dampened the spirits of Tibetan monks, as they diligently practice recitation of sacred texts. Their simple and well-intentioned way of life continuously attracts the attention of freedom-favoring people everywhere, and will no doubt outlive the philosophies of those who forced them into hiding. The denizens of Sherab Ling Monastery share residency with the Fifth Buddha, who sanctioned the release of Sacred Tibetan Chant—the first time this particular group has allowed recording of their ritual chants. Since the 7th century, the chanting masters have upheld the Karma Kagyu traditions, starting their days (and the CD) with the “Mahamudra Lineage Prayer and Meditation” and closing with the Mahakala ceremony, its two segments involving invocation and offerings, with the resultant blessings turned energetically toward harmony. As expected, the monks’ monophonic tones will cause your hairs to stand on end. The voices are accompanied by the nga chin (a huge temple drum), the sil-nyen and rol-mo cymbals, gyaling (oboe), kungling (trumpet), and those massive alpine horns known as radung. A thrilling and timeless soundtrack.