Prayers to the Protector - Thupten Pema Lama with Steve Roach
It was inevitable that synthesist Steve Roach would apply his soundscape designs to the deep, ancient, and often harrowing chants of Tibetan Buddhist monks. He's gone into the primal core with Aboriginal sounds and cultures on albums such as Dreamtime Return, and his Magnificent Void CD stepped into the abyss. On Prayers to the Protector, he works with the chants of Thupten Pema Lama of the Dip Tse Chok Ling Monastery. In Roach's studio, Thupten Pema Lama sang these devotional prayers and entreaties unaccompanied. Then Roach slipped them into his own soundworld, surrounding the monk with evanescent waves of synthesized ambiences. Being Steve Roach, this isn't the usual pretty New Age synth-glissandos, but darkly hued textures with metallic edges. On "Djewa takgya lingchee lhunbur dje" (a prayer for the world, according to the liner notes), he evokes the metal gongs and bowls of Tibetan chants as well as a freight train putting on the brakes in space. Prayers to the Protector doesn't dress up Buddhist chants, it just sends them into deeper space.
Thupten Pema Lama is a Tibetan monk, from the Gelugpa Tradition (the same lineage as the Dalai Lama). He sat in the Timeroom studio of Steve Roach in 1996, and said his daily three-tiered practice: taking refuge, the Ganden Lhagya and the tantric practice of homage to the guru and protectors, the Guru Puja/Lama Chopa. The latter two contain the entire Lam Rim, or the 64 stages on the path to enlightenment as organized by Je Tsongkapa founder of the Gelugpa sect. They are said daily not only by monks and nuns, but Tibetan Buddhist practitioners who have received tantric initiation (required for the Lama Chopa).
1. Refuge Prayer For All Sentient Beings & Prayer For Tsongkhapa
2. Blessing of the Place of Meditation
3. Prayer for the World or Planet
4. Purification Prayer to Dissolve all Sins Committed in Former Lives
5. Prayer to the Protector (Instrumental)
6. Prayer to the Wisdom, to Knowledge and Religious Vows
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