sangsara



Songs


These are the lyrics and liner notes for the CD Sangsara, which are reprinted in their entirety here. Almost all of the eleven songs are written in Italian, which I chose to do primarily due to the beautiful sound of the language; the English translations are also provided. Some of the lyrics in L'Oceano are Tibetan, and the lyrics for Paragate are Sanskrit, and are the first two lines of the Heart Sutra.

I've had quite an interest in Tibet and its people since I was a small child. However, it was not until my trip to Northern India that I met some Tibetan refugees during my stay in Mussoorie, which is at about 10,000 ft. in the foothills of the Himalayas. The stories that they told me about their families and loved ones dying, the destruction of their homeland, and their escape over the icy Himalayas moved me deeply, as did their genuine warmth and compassion, and those feelings stayed with me while I was writing these songs.


Shegar

Inginocchiato
Ingonocchiato
Dentro un mucchio
di pietre rotte e legno vecchio
L’uomo piange
L’uomo piange
Dentro un mucchio di pietre rotte
e legno vecchio che lui chiama casa sua
Inginocchiato
Inginocchiato
In terra bagnato di lacrime
Lacrime scendono
Lacrime scendono
Rosse Rosse stelle nei suoi occhi

Kneeling
Kneeling
In a pile of broken stone and splintered timber
The man is weeping
The man is weeping
In a pile of broken stone and splintered timber he called his home
Kneeling
Kneeling
In earth wet with tears
Tears fall
Tears fall
Red Red Star in his eyes


A holy man in the small town of Shegar describes the destruction of his home, bombed by the invading Chinese army.


Dentro

Il cuore
É illuminato
Con amore
Che nessuna
Lacrime puó bagnare
Senti il suo calore
Che ti chiama
Dal freddo di una
Casa rotta
Il cuore
É illuminato
Con Amore
Che nessuna
Lacrime puó bagnare
Senti il suo calore
Che ti chiama vicino a me
Senti il suo calore
Ti prego
Vieni dentro

The heart Is lit
With love
No tears
Can drown
Feel its warmth
Call out to me
Amidst the cold in a
Shattered home
The heart Is lit
With love No tears
Can drown
Feel its warmth
Call out to me
Feel its warmth
Invite me in
Please
Come inside


Although the holy man’s home has been destroyed by the Chinese army, Peter Jenkins feels nothing but warmth from him, noting that "his heart is lit with love."


Kailas

Considered the most sacred mountain in Tibet, Mount Kailas has been circumnavigated by Buddhists, Jains, Hindus, and adherents of Bon for thousands of years, these people often making pilgrimages of hundreds of miles across the rugged Himalayan peaks. To the Tibetan Buddhists, pilgrimages are something that is not done just for oneself; it is done on behalf of all beings, friends and even one’s enemies. Unless it is done in this spirit, it is simply an ordinary journey. A pilgrimage is an opportunity to become truly open and embrace all experiences.


Shiya

"Shiya" is Tibetan for "Death".


Bardo

Bardo literally means "between two" or "between two states", and is the intermediary state between death and rebirth. According to the Bardo Thödol, what one sees on the Bardo plane, be it blissful or hellish, godlike or demonic, is completely derived from the hallucinatory karmic thoughts constituting one’s personality; these visions are illusions based on experiences from the sangsara.


Amitabha

The Buddha of Infinite Light and Love Divine, Amitabha is the personification of one of the universal divine forces, and a reflection of one’s own thought-form while in the Bardo. Sung in Cantonese, the words in this song translate approximately to "Come here. Do you want to be my friend?"


Gyewalang

"Gyewalang" is Tibetan for "reborn".


Sangsara

Illusione
O Illusione
Portami su nel
Sentiero degli auguri
Furia Rossa
O Furia Rossa
Portami dentro portami dentro
Luce
Lucente
Divagando Sangsara
Guidami nel Sangsara
Orgoglio
O Orgoglio
Portami su nel
Sentiero degli auguri
Vincolo
O Vincolo
Portami dentro portami dentro
Luce
Lucente
Divagando Sangsara
Guidami nel Sangsara
Divagando Sangsara
Guidami nel Sangsara

Illusion
O Illusion
Lead us through the path of good wishes
Red Anger
O Red Anger
Lead us through lead us through
Bright
Light
Wandering in the Sangsara
Guide me from the Sangsara
Pride
O Pride
Lead us through lead us through
Attachment
O Attachment
Lead us through lead us through
Bright
Light
Wandering in the Sangsara
Guide me from the Sangsara
Wandering in the Sangsara
Guide me from the Sangsara


This song is inspired from the "Prayer for Guidance" in the Bardo Thodöl, in which the prayer seeks guidance through the wanderings in the sangsara and the fearful passageway of the Bardo. Sangsara refers to the continual cycles of birth and death; Tibetan Buddhists seeks "awakening" from this perpetual cycle.


L’ Oceano

L’Oceano Yeshu Norbu Kundun
Ascolta
Amore
Compassione
Gentilezza
Io sto imparando
Furia Odio Sdegno
Nam la timba
Khora ri dine
Yeghi ri
Io sto imparando

The Ocean Yeshu Norbu Kundun
Listen
Love
Compassion
Kindness
I’m still learning
Anger
Hatred
Contempt
(Should be) like the clouds
Appearing from space
And disappearing back
I’m still learning


Along with The Ocean (of Wisdom), or the Great Ocean, Yeshu Norbu (The Wish-Fulfilling Gem) and Kundun (Presence) are different names used to address or refer to the Dalai Lama, who is the spiritual and political leader of the Tibetan people and the Tibetan government-in-exile.

The Dalai Lama was forced to flee his homeland in 1959 as a result of the Chinese occupation of Tibet, which continues today. China has killed one-fifth of the population of Tibet– approximately 1.2 million people– in what has been called the worst single human catastrophe since the Nazis killed six million Jews. Tibetans have been imprisoned, tortured, and raped, and their land strip-mined, their forests clear-cut, and their sacred lakes filled with nuclear waste, contaminating water that feeds several major rivers in Asia.

Despite these and many other atrocities, the Dalai Lama has consistently sought a peaceful resolution, advocating non-violence at every step. He was recognized for these efforts in 1989, winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

"Nam la timba khora ri dine yeghi ri" is a quote from the 15th Century Tibetan poet and saint, Milarepa, and refers to the "negative" emotions that should be like the clouds disappearing back into space.


Paragate

Gate Gate
Paragate
Paramgate
Bodhi svaha

Gone Gone
Gone Beyond
Gone completely beyond
Awake, so be it


These words are adapted from the first line of the Heart Sutra. This mantra refers to Prince Siddhartha renouncing his clinging to the illusion of security, and instead seeking the reality beyond it. He completely awakes from all "dreams" and becomes a Buddha, an "awakened one". In many texts, "paramgate" is also known as "parasamgate".


Chenrezi

Chenrezi is the embodiment of mercy and compassion.



- Liner notes written by Ken Lee



108 very special thanks from Ken to:

Esther Tessel for making the words come alive; Natalie and Pauline Fratino, Luigi of Florence, and Pema Chöden for their invaluable translations; Southern California Conservatory of Music; Richard Lanchester for the amazing stories about his years in Lhasa and playing his incredible singing bowls; Connie Deeter for enlightening me on the differences between cello and bass; Dave Segimoto and Bob at VST in Pasadena for keeping the machines going; The Still-Inspirational Michael Haumesser; The Burglar; Los Angeles Friends of Tibet; Chris Kosman for graphic design; Rae Dileo for mountains of invaluable help; and to Brian Eno, for inspiration. Special thanks to J.M. Zorko at Ad Astra Records.The music on "Sangsara" is very special to me, and I am proud to share it with you.


Esther Thanks:

Francois (le busker) for those timeless days in the S London squat where we reveled in mostly Italian arias; cousin Howard; my British mother for passing her feistiness (strength) and haphazard emotions (sensitivity) down to me so that I may cry out to you; The Junkyard King (thanks for watching); the Tessel Tribe, Sharon, Larry and Reba, Joy, myself, Natalie, Daniel, Carol Moo for her Chinese coaching, Alan Watts for his "coaching", all of my great comrades for helping me through life’s "bardo" – to name a few: Kate, Jason, Robin, Ray; the wondrous Ken Lee for providing this playground of beauty in which I could dance, laugh, sing and cry without restraint; The Patient Burglar, for her humor and support; and to Amitabha/Hashem for endless Compassion and for giving me what I need.


Musicians:

Esther Tessel voice

Richard Lanchester Tibetan Singing Bowls, Burmese bells

Connie Deeter bowed bass

Ken Lee keyboards, voice, Tibetan bells, atmosphere guitar, Javanese gamelan, electric bass, wind chimes, and assorted sounds and voices taped while traveling in Northern India.


All songs ©1994 Eleven Shadows Music, BMI. except "Amitabha", ©1994 Hidden Star Music, BMI/Eleven Shadows Music, BMI.


All music was written, recorded, and mixed by Ken Lee at Blueberry Buddha Recording Studios,California, except "Amitabha", which was co-written by Esther Tessel and Ken Lee. Mastered by Rae Dileo at SoHo Productions.

For more information on Tibet:

The Office of Tibet 241 East 32nd Street New York NY 10016 USA

Artists for Tibet 3212 SE 23rd Street Portland OR 97202 USA

Los Angeles Friends of Tibet P.O. Box 641066 Los Angeles CA 90064 USA

Milarepa Fund 76 Uranus Terrace San Francisco CA 94114 USA



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