Made By Mind

“Made by Mind” is based on the first two verses of the Dhammapada. Props to the downtempo sounds of Air, Groove Armada, Massive Attack and many others, the kirtan of Jai Uttal, the spoken word vibe of Patti Smith, and the Buddha Shakyamuni. The english verses are an adaptation of a translation by Thanissaro from accesstoinsight.org. also props to Gil Fronsdal who always inspires me to read the words of the Buddha. [This is a scratch recording into my iPhone.]

I feel a strong desire (Desire?!! Oh No, Mr. Bill! Don’t Do That!!) to write sacred music for Buddhist practice because 1) I’m not good at being quiet all the time; 2) I really get off on chant, mantra and kirtan, and 3) BUDDHISM IS FUCKING BORING and it needs some good music. Buddhism doesn’t have a musical tradition, so it has to borrow music from bhakti kirtan singers like Jai Uttal and Krishna Das. They are also kind enough to play concerts at places like Spirit Rock for Buddhists like us. There’s a growing crossover between Buddhist communities and kirtan, so long as all the tight-ass Buddhist can get over the idea of singing the names of the devas (they are not “Gods” in the Judeo-Christian sense, so get over it, OK?).

mrbill.jpg

The next phase of the adaptation of Buddhism to the west is developing some kind of musical tradition or repetoire. The lack of a musical tradition or even a significant catalogue of tunes leaves the door wide open for musicians like to get going and write some tunes. I’ve written several already which I hope to record this year.

Dhammapada v. 1-2

mano pubbaṅgamā dhammā 
mano seṭṭhā mano mayā
manasa ce paduṭṭhena 
bhāsati vā karoti vā
tato naṃ 
dukkham anveti 
cakkaṃ va 
vahato padam

mano pubbaṅgamā dhammā 
mano seṭṭhā mano mayā
manasa ce pasannena 
bhāsati vā karoti vā 
tato naṃ 
sukham anveti 
chāyā va 
anapāyinī

Phenomena are moved by heart,
made by heart,
ruled by heart.
Speak and act
with a corrupted heart,
then suffering follows you —
like the wheel of a cart
like the track of an ox
pulled by their feet
leaving hoof marks in the street

mano pubbaṅgamā dhammā 
mano seṭṭhā mano mayā

Phenomena are moved by heart,
made by heart,
ruled by heart.
Speak and act
with a calm, bright heart,
then happiness follows you,
like the wheel of a cart
like the track of an ox
pulled by their feet
leaving hoof marks in the street

mano pubbaṅgamā dhammā 
mano seṭṭhā mano mayā

Phenomena are moved by mind,
made by mind,
ruled by mind.
Speak and act
with a corrupted mind,
then misery follows you,
all of the time

in your heart
like the wheel of a cart
like the track of an ox
pulled by their feet
leaving hoof marks in the street

mano pubbaṅgamā dhammā 
mano seṭṭhā mano mayā

Phenomena are moved by mind,
made by mind,
ruled by mind.

Speak and act
with a calm, bright mind,
then happiness follows you,
all of the time

in your heart
like the wheel of a cart
like the track of an ox
pulled by their feet
leaving hoof marks in the street

adapted from translation by Thanissaro, accesstoinsight.org

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