1. The One Thus Gone
(c) FANCYMUSIC 2017
The one thus gone (Tathagata in Pali and Sanskrit) – that’s how Buddha called himself instead of "I". The name refers to liberation from samsara, a cycle of death and rebirth. Not only the Buddha, who lived 2,500 years ago, but any person can become "thus gone". Those who have "thus gone" explain to the rest of us how everything works, and what kind of problems and obstacles keep us in samsara.
My composition is based on three ancient texts.
"The Last Words of Senge Wangchuk", a great yogin and meditation master who lived in the 11 th and 12 th centuries. This text is constituted of the words he pronounced at the moment of his death as his body was dissolving into a cloud of rainbow light. This is a sign of attaining a highest stage of enlightenment.
"The Prayer of Samantabhadra". This text was hidden in the 9 th century by the great master Padmasambhava, and revealed in the 14 th century by another great master Rigzin Godem (1337-1408). The authorship of this text is attributed to primordial Buddha Samantabhadra. He is not a historic figure and has never lived on this planet but we have been fortunate to obtain several texts originating from his enlightened mind. These teachings were received by so-called wisdom holders not as manuscripts but through a revelation. The wisdom holders would either transmit them to ordinary people or hide somewhere if no one seemed capable of understanding and further transmitting the teaching without any misinterpretations.
This prayer contains the essence of all Buddhist teachings. It shows the source and effect of all our delusions and explains how to put an end to all sufferings by eliminating their cause – negative emotions and dualistic views. According to Buddhist teachings, Samantabhadra embodies enlightened mind which is present in everyone’s mindstream. We can treat his words as a voice of our unstained potential. After having heard our true voice we start to wake up from ignorance. In the conclusion of this text it is said that all beings who hear this prayer will attain enlightenment within three lifetimes.
(as explained by Lama Sonam Dorje)
The third text is "Prostration to the 35 Buddhas" (the 1 st movement of my cantata). Prayers of this type can be found in all religious traditions. In Christianity, Islam, Judaism and other traditions there are many words used as names and descriptions of God. These words are not the names of different gods but the qualities and aspects of the transcendent and inexpressible entity. In Buddhist tradition there is a practice of confession of sins: pronouncing the 35 names of "The One Thus Gone" while doing prostrations (full bows).
In my composition this text is performed not in Tibetan language (like the other two) but in English. I first heard it in a monastery in a good English translation, and memorized it in this translation. I decided to preserve the taste of my personal experience in this music.
It is not at all necessary to be a Buddhist to set off on this journey. These words are universal. Like the laws of physics, they do not belong to any religion. Neither does music.
The text of the 4 th (final) movement contains just one letter: A. It is said that the most profound wisdom that needs hundreds of volumes for its detailed explanation can be transmitted through one single letter A. When we sing the sound Ah for a long time and listen to it we become that sound. We become who we really are, and all the knowledge of the universe and that of ourselves enters our mind without any words and philosophy.
English translation by AB. Edited by Cazimir Liske