The morning hours are glorious around Boudhanath Stupa as the first rays of the sun illuminate the eyes of the Awakened painted atop the famous monument in the Kathmandu Valley. At its base, the faithful perform the sacred circumambulation (practice of turning around a symbol, editor’s note), turning the rows of prayer wheels. It was in this high place of Tibetan Buddhism that I heard for the first time the sublime voice of Ani Chöying Drolma whose pure song flew towards the immaculate azure, carrying with it the hundreds of multicolored flags on which have been printed with sacred invocations.
Listening to the famous Nepalese nun is a spiritual event as her voice, rising from the silence of the peaks, is capable of leading us towards an inexpressible peace. Her unique talent for making the sacred mantras resonate in the bass and treble was revealed to her by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche (1920-1996), a great Tibetan master who, with his wife Mayum Kunsang Dechen, trained the young Chöying. To pay homage to him, the disciple later wrote: “As time passes, devotion and concentration shape my song. I am gradually becoming aware that my way of interpreting the prayers is gaining power. Eyes half-closed, the words of the sacred texts seem to come by themselves to my throat and I literally plunge into myself thanks to the technique taught by my master. »
Without the need for long treatises, Ani Chöying’s chant allows us to penetrate to the heart of Tibetan Buddhism, into the experience of infinite compassion. It even seems that the way she sings the Namo Ratna Trayaya, the famous mantra to the glory of Avalokiteshvara, makes us visualize the bodhisattva of compassion who, seized by the distress of humanity, exploded his skull into eleven heads to hear all the cries of the world and multiplied his arms to the number of a thousand to come to the aid of all sufferings. As her book My Voice for Freedom recounted, Ani Chöying’s life was one of ever-increasing compassion.
Compassion first for herself, victim in her childhood of the violence of a father whom she was able to forgive later. Compassion towards her uneducated Buddhist nun companions, for whom she founded the Arya Tara School thanks to the fruit of her tours when she enjoyed international success from the 1990s. Then, in a movement that took her ever further, compassion that envelops his innumerable audiences as his singing procures a beneficent bliss, healing intimate wounds.
Compassion which finally allows her to cross enemy countries with so much feminine grace and to build bridges between religions. Today, on the threshold of fifty, more and more attracted by the solitude of a Himalayan hermitage, the daughter of Tibetan refugees has become transparent to Tara, the bodhisattva born from the tears of Avalokiteshvara, whose mantra Om tare tuttare ture soha dwells in the heart of Ani Chöying Drolma: “I prostrate before the great Compassionate, Mother of all Buddhas. »
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