Sounds. Anton BATAGOV
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music for the 35 buddhas

© 2001 Tummo TCD 0102

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    1/ Like Dust that Covers the Mirror 40:46  MP3
    2/ Prostration to the 35 Buddhas 21:25  
    total time 62:16  

Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche voice (1)
Ven. Ani Karin voice (2)
Peteris Shuniatis vibraphone, javanese gong, antique cymbal
Anton Batagov piano, recording, editing, mixing, mastering

written in January 2001
recorded and mixed in June 2001

artwork: Nick Shtok



In Tibetan Buddhism there is a ritual of rotating prayer wheels. A prayer wheel is a cylinder with mantras inscribed on it. Rotating a prayer wheel has a very powerful positive effect: it helps purify karma, not only of the person who is rotating it but also of all the living beings the person thinks about while doing so. One revolution is considered to be equivalent to reciting all of the mantras carried by the wheel, which can actually be quite a large number as the inner space of the wheel is filled with mantras written on rolls of the thinnest paper. The purpose of this "mechanization" is not simply to render the ritual more efficient: the circular motion of certain magic formulas acts to shape streams of energy in an optimal way thus purifying the space and everybody within it.

It has just been discovered that an ordinary compact disc might be also used as a prayer wheel. This discovery has been employed for the first time in the "Music for the 35 Buddhas" CD. The mantra рOM AH HUMс is inscribed on its surface, - just one mantra, but a CD rotates at a very high speed: it makes about 20,000 revolutions per hour. This means that while you listen to the music this mantra is silently repeated about 20,000 times! If you meditate every day with the help of this music the positive effect increases. Even if you don't like this music at all you can play this CD with the volume turned down - the mantra will work anyway. It is important to realize that the positive "charge" you accumulate this way is not your private property which can be saved and multiplied. The power of this energy is endless, and sharing it with others is the greatest joy.

Music for the 35 Buddhas
Composer's note

This 60 minute composition consists of two movements:

  1. Like Dust that Covers the Mirror
  2. Prostration to the 35 Buddhas

The first movement (for piano and vibraphone) is a 40 minute long meditation on emptiness . At the 32nd minute (by which time a "normal" listener would have already either stopped this CD and started playing "normal" music, or simply fallen asleep) the voice of Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche enters. Lama Zopa is one of the greatest Buddhist teachers of our time, and this text is a fragment of a conversation with him at the Kopan Monastery on November 30th, 2000. The interview lasted about two hours, and made one of the strongest impressions on me that I have ever experienced in my life. For this composition I have selected just a few of Lama Zopa's phrases about emptiness:

...Like dust that covers the mirror: you have to clean the dust. Because our mind has all the potential to see emptiness, to be free from all the suffering causes, to be free from death, even to achieve ultimate liberation which is called full enlightenment which is the cessation of even the very subtle negative imprints left on the mental continuum.
By ceasing that our mind becomes fully awakened.
This realization of emptiness is something that makes you to be
liberated from the whole entire suffering including the cycle of death
and rebirth.
What creates the death? This ignorance, not knowing the ultimate nature
of the I and the ultimate nature of the mind.
What is I?
And what is mind?
Realizing that it is totally nonexistent, empty, that it is false and a
You have to clean the dust.
It is empty.
It is empty but it is not totally nonexistent.
When you realize THIS...

When such a highly realized master speaks, something is happening that cannot be described with words written either on paper or on a monitor. Realization begins when our intellect working with words and notions and always searching for similarities and distinctions has stopped analyzing. Fortunately, music can work "beyond the brain". Through the music I have tried to transmit my experience of listening to Lama Zopa's teaching.

The second movement is written for piano, vibraphone, Javanese gong and antique cymbal. This movement is based on the traditional text "Prostration to the 35 Buddhas". The text is recited in English by Ven. Ani Karin, a Western Buddhist nun who has been living in Kopan for 25 years.

When we are prostrating we are paying homage to all buddhas of all times. During one's lifetime one should do at least 100,000 prostrations. It helps purify negative karma, and it is also an antidote to pride.

Anton Batagov, September 2001