The other day I got to have another lovely discussion with Ted Meissner on his podcast The Secular Buddhist. You can hear your discussion here. We discuss music, the suttas, and of course, The Path.
For the past 8 years I have been translating Pali texts and composing music for orchestra, choir, and soloists. This April 22, in Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis, The St. Olaf Choir, Orchestra, and Chapel Choir will give the world premier of The Path, a concert-length cantata based on texts from the Pali Canon, the most ancient Buddhist scriptures. This world premiere, conducted by Steven Amundson, will feature performances by over 300 musicians.
For 2500 years, Buddhist monks and nuns have chanted the dhamma, the teachings of the Buddha, in Pali, the ancient language of Buddhism. The Path is a setting of 28 of these texts, taken from the oldest collection of Buddhist texts. It includes deep statements of philosophy like The Fire Sermon, which T. S. Eliot called the Sermon on the Mount for Buddhists. It has touching stories of the early monks and nuns, like Bhadda, who gave up everything to search for enlightenment. It has inspiring poetry like the Metta Sutta which is recited by school kids across Sri Lanka. The music ranges from dense and dissonant to lovely and innocent, from simple to fiercely challenging. It ends with a testament to the power of joy.
Tickets are available here.
Dear reader, You may have noticed that it has been a long while since I have published a post or podcast. The reasons are practical: for one, my podcast partner David had a new baby a few months ago. Congratulations to David! But the bigger slacker has been me. I have taken on new responsibilities at work and family, so I just have less time to podcast. I make time to study, read, and of course practice Dhamma, but there isn’t much left over for podcasting. When this wave crests, I hope to make more time for this blog and podcast. In the meantime, I recommend Bhikkhu Bodhi’s wonderful new translation of the Sutta Nipata. And I eagerly await Ajahn Sujato’s online translation of the near-complete early suttas early next year.