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In the verdant hilltops of Nepal, the calm and powerful voice of Buddhist nun Ani Choying Drolma echoes with compassion through songs of healing and protection.
An international name whose reputation for her humanitarian efforts precedes her, Ani’s response to Esplanade’s festival, A Tapestry of Sacred Music, in the midst of a pandemic are two Buddhist chants associated with compassion. This musical postcard embodies her well wishes for all.
Namo Ratna Traya-ya is a healing mantra invokes the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas. This meditative chant purifies negative karmas and provides protection and healing, and therefore is believed to have immeasurable benefits for all sentient beings.
Om Tare Tutare is a mantra that embodies the essence of Mother Tara, the mother of all buddhas and one of the most beloved deities, especially in Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana). Deemed a female figure, Tara is considered a goddess of compassion who protects her devotees from calamities. Her most common manifestations are the Green Tara or White Tara. “Tara” is Sanskrit for star and thus, the bodhisattva allegorises the North Star, guiding the lost and saving the faithful by showing them the way to enlightenment. It is believed that reciting the sacred Om Tare Tutare mantra aids in overcoming our outer and inner obstacles, especially those unbeknownst to ourselves.
Ani Choying Drolma is a Buddhist nun from Nepal, known for her humanitarian work in providing education for young girls, caring for the elderly and offering medical services for the underprivileged.
Discovered by an American guitarist Steve Tibbets in 1997, her first album Cho featured her mesmerising chanting with accompaniment. Because of its success, Ani was able to continue recording music and has since brought traditional Buddhist chants into the modern world, alongside Nepali and Buddhist songs. She has performed worldwide to support her charitable missions and take her humanitarian efforts to a much larger scale. Ani founded of the Arya Tara School in 2000, providing nuns with the abilities and skills to serve their communities, in an effort to educate girls in rural areas of Asia who still do not have access to education. She is also the author of Singing for Freedom, an autobiography that chronicles her rise to international fame and her humanitarian work.
Ani performed at Esplanade’s A Tapestry of Sacred Music festival in 2014 at the Esplanade Concert Hall in Singapore with Steve Tibbets and March Anderson.
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