Music industry ringtones? Bah, humbug!
How about some Buddhist Chant ringtones?
Locally Toned has some now, thanks to Ms. Heather Mull–a gifted photographer who lives and works in Pittsburgh. I’ve known Heather for years (as a friend and through my previous work as a media literacy specialist at Pittsburgh Filmmakers). Late this summer she wrote in to Locally Toned saying, “What would you think of some Buddhist Chant Ringtones?”
Heather travels to Natrona Heights, PA, each Wednesday evening for group meditation at the Pittsburgh Buddhist Center (a Theravada Buddhist temple). When I told her I thought Buddhist chants would make wonderful ringtones, she checked in with the monks, Bhante Maithrie and Bhante Pemaratana, to see if that’d be possible. They graciously agreed to contribute some chants to the project.
To me, these tones reflect the ever-expanding cultural and ethnic diversity of the Pittsburgh region. They’re also a fresh approach to conceptualizing content for (extra-ordinary) ringtones. After we finished recording the chants, Bhante Pemaratana said, “So this means that when someone’s phone rings, one of our chants, such as A Wish for World Peace could play?” Yes, Bhante–even when you are not there to sing it. These chant tones also expand the range of language included in the project–some of the Buddhist tones are in Pali (language of the earliest extant Buddhist scriptures), and others are in Singhalese.
Bhante is a term of respect that means master teacher–and now I should introduce you to the monks. Both are from Sri Lanka, and have been in the US for 14 months. They were invited by the Buddhist Association and Friends of Buddhism in Western PA.
Bhante Maithrie is the elder monk. He noted, via translation, that he is quite happy in the United States. He enjoys the programs that the center runs, but says he’s a little different here, “quite unlike the way I am in Sri Lanka–I’m much quieter here,” he joked. Bhante Maithrie speaks less English than Bhante Pemaratana, but he continued, through translation, “It’s a much smaller [religious] community here, and so it’s a quieter life. I’ve found that the people here are good and kind.”
Bhante Pemaratana also mentioned the “openness and welcoming nature of the people” in the Pittsburgh area. This fall, he begins work on his PhD in religious studies at the University of Pittsburgh. He’s very excited about that.
The first 4 tones are in Singhalese–also Singhala–a native language of Sri Lanka. The last three are sung in the native language of Pali.
Buddhist Chant Tones
“Namo”/Homage to the Buddha–the most commonly used chant to pay homage to the Buddha. Sung by Bhante Pemaratana.
Reflection on the Qualities of the Buddha. Sung by Bhante Pemaratana.
Excerpt from Loving Kindness Chant sung by Bhante Pemaratana.
Salutation to the Buddha or Praising the Buddha sung by Bhante Maithrie
13th Century Poem in Singhalese (or Singhala, a native language of Sri Lanka) sung by Bhante Maithrie.
Wish for World Peace (Buddhist Chant) in Singhala “May the craving for the power in the people’s mind go away. May the people understand the goodness of the human mind.” Sung by Bhante Pemaratana.
Common Buddhist Chant–a short verse with four types of meditation. Sung by Bhante Maithrie and Bhante Pemaratana.
Thanks to Bhante Maithrie and Bhante Pemaratana for this very original contribution to the project and to Heather Mull for the introduction to the Pittsburgh Buddhist Center (and for taking some photos while I recorded the Buddhist tracks)!