El Canto de la Mañana (Thich Nhat Hanh / Plum Village tradition)

The new Morning Chant in Spanish, sung in three part harmony at Deer Park Monastery:


Last year Brother Phap Liu gave me the words to the morning and evening chants in Spanish, and requested that I try to compose music for them. This is the music I wrote for the morning chant. The lyrics and sheet music for the melody are below.

Singing with me in this video are two practitioners I had the pleasure of meeting and making music with this winter at Deer Park Monastery.  A big thank you to Albert and Eric for making this video possible! We are singing in the Ocean of Peace Dharma Hall at Deer Park.

To download the recording of this song, leave a donation for Sangha Songs and you will automatically be directed to the downloads page. (Click here).

El Canto de la Mañana

(El Cuerpo)
-O del Dharma (B)
trae la luz de la mañana (B)
En concentración
el corazón
está en paz (B...B..B.BBB...)

(Una leve)
-E sonrisa (B)
nace sobre nuestros labios (B)
Es un nuevo día
el voto de vivirlo (B...B..B.BBB...)

En plena conciencia (B)
El sol de la sabiduría (B)
ya se alza iluminando
todas las direcciones (B...B..B.BBB...)

Noble sangha estableced
vuestras mentes en meditación

Namo Sakiamonaye Buddhaya (b)
Namo Sakiamonaye Buddhaya (B)
Namo Sakiamonaye Buddhaya (b)
Namo Sakiamonaye Buddhaya (B...B...)
Namo Sakiamonaye Buddhaya (b)
Namo Sakiamonaye Buddhaya (B)

(B) = bell,  
Bold text = all parts, 
(parenthesis) = solo

Coming Home To Myself - I Enjoy Going Back to My Island (lyrics, guitar chords, harmony)

At a recent retreat I had the pleasure of studying with Michael Ciborski, and meeting Fern and the rest of the family as well.  Really insightful people, I have a lot of respect and admiration for the music and work they do: I highly recommend taking a look at Michael's TrueMiddleWay.org website  (True Middle Way was his name as a monastic).

During the retreat Michael shared a new set of words with me, which he received from the Ashville NC sangha.  I have added guitar chords and three part harmony.  If you would like to download this song, make a donation to the Sangha Songs project and you will be sent to the thank you page.  There you will find audio downloads for this and other songs.

The lyrics and guitar chords can be found at the bottom of this post.

Michael Ciborski's comments:

"Here is an excerpt from one of Thay's talks that lays the basis for the song (a children's Dharmatalk, July 28, 1998).

"The Buddha said that every one of us has an island within, an island of peace and stability within, and we should practice so that we can profit from the existence of that island within ourselves. When he was eighty, the Buddha knew that he was going to pass away in a few months, and he knew that his disciples were going to miss him. During the last six months, around the city of Vaisali, he used to talk to the monks and the nuns about taking refuge within yourself. The expression is atadipaAta means self,dipa means island. When you go back to that island, you experience peace and stability. The Buddha is there, the Dharma is there, and the Sangha is there.

"We can describe the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha as forms of energy. Mindfulness is the kind of energy that helps us to be really there in the present moment, body and mind united. Mindfulness is the kind of energy that helps us to touch life deeply in the present moment. Buddha is my mindfulness, shining near, shining far. So when you have the energy of mindfulness in yourself, the Buddha is present, and light is there. With mindfulness you can see the situation more clearly, and you know exactly what to do and what not to do. We know that the practice of mindful breathing can maintain your mindfulness alive as long as you wish. Or the practice of walking meditation can also maintain mindfulness alive as long as you wish. So you might like to keep the Buddha with you, to invite him to stay with you as long as you like, by the practice of mindful breathing, mindful walking, mindful sitting. Because that is an energy for your protection. Buddha is not an abstract idea, Buddha is something very real. Your Buddha nature is your capacity of being mindful, calm and concentrated. So you have confidence in the Buddha, because you know that you are capable of generating the energy of mindfulness in you. What makes a Buddha a Buddha is the energy of mindfulness. Mindfulness carries within itself the energy of calm concentration, and if mindfulness is there for some time, insight is born. That is why mindfulness, concentration and insight go together. So, in your island you have the Buddha. Visualize a beautiful island within yourself, with beautiful trees, clear streams of water, birds, all your ancestors, spiritual or blood, and you can encounter the Buddha, you can take the hand of the Buddha and walk on that island. It is possible. When you are mindful you are a Buddha at the same time. Taking the hand of the Buddha and walking is something you can do every day."

The song was written by Joseph Emet and published in the book "Basket of Plums Songbook: Music in the Tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh" (compiled by Joseph Emet)

I Am Remembering

I learned this song at Deer Park Monastery and was told it could be sung as a two part round but the timing was a little tricky.  Nothing is quite so motivating as a challenge, so I sat down with it and figured it out. It only had two parts, so I composed a third line for the round to create a fuller sound. Hope you enjoy the new version in the video tutorial below.

This tutorial was a request from a local sangha member at our last retreat.  If you have a favorite song that you would like to see a tutorial of, please drop me a note in the contact form at the bottom of the page!  And if you find this new version of the song beautiful/ useful/ compelling, you can nourish gratitude and generosity by offering a donation to support the creation of more Sangha Songs tutorials. Your generosity will bear fruit many times over as Sangha Songs are shared around the world.

I find it is very helpful to have this song in my mind on a daily basis, to remember my intention of living in a way that brings peace to all living beings.  So often in our daily lives we forget where and who we are, getting caught up in plans and fears for the future or regrets for the past.  This song reminds us to come home to ourself. 

And When I Rise: Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass Tutorials

Dear friends,
What a wonderful day!  I am posting the choral parts for my arrangement of "And When I Rise" today, and I just received some great news... but first the choir parts:

You'll find video tutorials for each of the practice parts (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Bass) posted below. Be sure to look at the other post of "And When I Rise", to hear the solo and guitar parts. A lyrics sheet with guitar chords is located at the bottom of this post.

You may also download audio practice tracks of this song. They are available to anyone who offers a donation in support of my work here at Sangha Songs. Thank you!

This is me (Shane) up on the hill top at sunrise here on Vashon Island:

And now the great news! This morning I was so surprised and happy when I received a new video from Plum Village of the monastics singing my new choral arrangement for "And When I Rise!"

Last fall, Sr. Trai Nghiem of Plum Village visited us here on Vashon Island, and we gifted her a practice CD with all the parts for the new "And When I Rise" choral arrangement.  I think I see her on the left side in the video above!  And that's Br. Phap Linh conducting on the right -- the same brother who composed the beautiful music to the New Heart Sutra. We had the pleasure of meeting and playing music with them in 2014.  What a wonderful treat to see the Plum Village monastics singing this new choral arrangement so beautifully!  Thank you brothers and sisters!

If you would like to download audio practice recordings for this arrangement, they are available as a thank you gift to anyone who donates in support of our ongoing work here at SanghaSongs. Your generosity will bear fruit many times over as new Sangha Songs are shared around the world. Please donate here to receive access to the audio download page for "And When I Rise".

You can also subscribe to SanghaSong's email updates here, and receive a note when we post new songs.

Thank you to our teacher Thich Nhat Hanh who continues to inspire us, and to all the singers who have encouraged us to spread this music far and wide.


And When I Rise: A New Version for the New Year

We were visiting Plum Village in France when I first heard this melody, and I
thought to myself, "How wonderful would it be to sing that in four part harmony, choral style?"

So upon our return I composed a new arrangement.  I also added a bridge with lyrics from the Plum Village morning Gatha:

"Waking up this morning, I smile.
Twenty-four brand new hours are before me.
I vow to live fully in each moment
and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion."

It is a wonderful verse to practice.  This winter we taught the new arrangement to our local choir on Vashon Island and to a group of singers at Deer Park Monastery during the New Year's Retreat.  We have found that many days we wake up singing the gatha - what a great way to start the day!  If you would like to sing this with your own group, I'll be posting the tutorials for all the parts in the next week.

Become a sponsor of this ongoing music project by leaving a donation in the dana bowl before you go.  A big thank you to those who have donated!

Here is a beautiful recording of the original song from 2011:

And here is the newly composed arrangement, sung by the Deer Park New Year's Choir in January ~ first in rehearsal in the yurt, then at the New Year's Be-In at the big meditation hall:

Thanks to all the singers in this video, and especially to Dave for taking the video footage!

In the next few days I will be posting tutorials for the Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass parts for this song, so make sure to check back in!  You can also subscribe to email updates here, and receive a note each time we post a new song.

More soon...


P.S. Feel free to share this on with friends on facebook using the button below!

The Heart Sutra (The Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore)

These are the teaching tutorials for chanting the new version of the Heart Sutra, translated by Thich Nhat Hanh on Sept. 11, 2014. Music in the Plum Village Tradition composed by Br. Phap Linh.

First download and print this study sheet with all the words.  It has been divided into parts to match the tutorials below.

Note: You can also now download the video and audio versions of these tutorials for use wherever you go - look for the purchase link at the bottom of this post.

Begin with Part A: Chant along with the video 2-3 times, then take a break and try again in an hour.  Twenty four hours later, try it again, after the subconscious has had time to absorb the new music and words.

After a few days, or once Part A is feeling comfortable, try using the same repetition technique on Part B: