Nepal – the country of the Buddha and the Mt. Everest

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Nepal’s ‘singing nun’ shares the sound of music

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 21, 2011

DEC 19 – Wrapped in a maroon robe, her head shaven, Ani Choying Dolma treads gingerly into a Kathmandu hotel, exuding the composure and serenity one might expect from a Buddhist nun.

But this 40-year-old is no ordinary devotee, for Dolma — better known by her moniker “The Singing Nun” — is the most unlikely of music stars, touring the world to change the lives of thousands of poverty-hit Nepali girls.

She has recorded 12 albums, and for over a decade has been playing in festivals and concerts across Europe and the United States.

The money she makes through her soulful music, a contemporary take on traditional Tibetan sounds, goes almost entirely to projects promoting the education and welfare of Buddhist nuns.

Yet Dolma’s story has a dark heart — a childhood marked by brutality that she believes would have left her consumed with hatred if not for a teacher who recognised her talent and became her salvation.

Born into a family of Tibetans who fled the Chinese occupation and raised in the shadow of a Buddhist monastery in Kathmandu, Dolma describes being beaten daily by her father and says her youth was “physically and emotionally painful”.

But “the rebel in me took over”, she says, recalling how she opted to escape her family at the age of 13 to become a nun.

“I was courageous enough to say that I didn’t want it anymore,” she told AFP in an interview.

She moved to a monastery perched high in the hills overlooking Kathmandu where she found a teacher, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, an influential Buddhist master in Nepal.

“The person I am today… all credit goes to my teacher. I don’t know what I would have become had I not been blessed with his teachings. It transformed the hatred inside me into compassion,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »

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