The Unexcelled Mantra (Digital Single)

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ChristopherBono_TheUnexcelledMantra_48f595c4-9698-47d9-ac94-6f32dab2b36c.jpg

The Unexcelled Mantra (Digital Single)

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Unity and The Unexcelled Mantra were recorded with Harold Rosenbaum and the New York Virtuoso singers at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York City. Both contemplate a path to transcendence or ‘true being’ through Union with the cosmos; The Unexcelled Mantra doing so from a Mahayana Buddhist point of view, and Unity from the Philosophical Tradition of Plato.

The Unexcelled Mantra is a setting of text from the ‘Heart Sutra’, a sacred and very important text in Mahayana Buddhism on practicing the view of Shunyata, or Emptiness in order to obtain Nirvana, an experiential liberation. The mantra reads: 

“Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bohdi Svaha!” 

A description from the Dalai Lama: 

“The Mantra of the perfection of wisdom (The Unexcelled Mantra) is proclaimed: 
"tadyath gaté gaté paragaté parasamgaté bodhi svaha! Shariputra, the bodhisatvas, the great beings, should train in the perfection of widsom in this way.” 

In Sanskrit, tadyatha literally means “It is thus” and prepares the way for what follows; gaté gaté means “go, go; paragaté means “go beyond”; parasamgaté means “go totally beyond”; and bodhi svaha can be read as “be rooted in the ground of enlightenment”. Thus, the entire mantra itself can be translated as “Go, go, go beyond, go totally beyond, be rooted in the ground of enlightenment.” We can interpret this mantra metaphorically to read “Go to the other shore,” which is to say, abandon this shore of samsara, unenlightened existence, which has been our home since beginning-less time, and cross to the other shore of final nirvana and complete liberation.

 

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