The Sound of Wisdom: The Gyuto Monks, Phillip Glass, and More

The following article is from the Spring, 1987 issue of the Snow Lion Newsletter and is for historical reference only. You can see this in context of the original newsletter here.

Within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, music is regarded as a vehicle of inner transformation, a meditative discipline for cultivating the wisdom and compassion of a Buddha. Gyuto Tantric College, founded in 1474 AD in Tibet, has evolved a special chanting technique which enables each monk to produce a low fundametal tone and two or three of its overtones simultaneously. This "deep sound" is believed to convey the blessings of the tantric deities. Although these rituals involve inner practices that are not revealed to the unitiated, it is still considered to be very beneficial to observe their external aspects.

The ONE WORLD MUSIC Festival of Sacred Chant was a unique and unprecedented event that brought together 11 Tibetan Buddhist monks from Gyuto Tantric College with new music composers Philip Glass, David Hykes, Pauline Oliveros, and Terry Riley. In performances and symposia, the two-day festival focused on the connections between ancient ritual and contemporary music, and the impact of Asian traditional culture on Western consciousness.

The SOUND OF WISDOM, a video of this event, also provides background and analysis by intercutting performances with segments from the symposia and oncamera narration by film and television actor Kabir Bedi. This broadcast-quality program was produced by Robyn Brentano. Funds are urgently needed to complete the final edit. Inquiries may be directed to: Burchfield, 312 E. 83rd St., NY, NY 10028.

Back to all Snow Lion Articles