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Monday, October 22, 2012
THE SINGING BUDDHIST NUN
This week on the eve of her Australian tour we meet and hear the acclaimed singer and Buddhist nun, Ani Choying Drolma.
Born into a life of poverty and domestic violence in Kathmandu, Ani Choying took refuge at the age of 13 in a convent in the foothills of the Himalayas, eventually becoming a nun in the Vajrayana tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. While there, she learned to chant the Buddhist prayers with simple melodies and sing mantras with the help of her mentor and guru, the abbot, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche.
Ani Choying was discovered singing devotional prayers in the convent by the American musician Steve Tibbetts in 1994. Together they recorded two albums of meditative Buddhist chant and singing that quickly made her an international star.
Ani Choying Drolma now travels the world performing her melodic chants and modern spiritual songs while recording best-selling albums which she uses to fund her numerous humanitarian efforts. Nepal of course is the birthplace of the Buddha Shakyamuni, and Ani Choying’s music reflects her Buddhist outlook.
She’s released more than ten successful albums singing in Tibetan, Sanskrit and her native Nepali, has published an autobiography, Singing for Freedom, and over the years has established several charities to help young nuns gain an education and to provide medical facilities in Nepal, including the Arya Tara school just outside Kathmandu.