“When you trust, love heals and renews,” says Tina Turner in the Spiritual Message that opens Beyond, a new recording of Buddhist and Christian prayers featuring Turner with Dechen Shak-Dagsay and Regula Curti. “Love inspires and empower us to do great things and makes us a better person to love. Love makes us feel safe and brings us closer to God. When you go beyond, that’s where you find true love.”
Available from New Earth Records, the collaboration features music of Buddhist prayers, composed by Dechen Shak-Dagsay, a Tibetan Buddhist; traditional music and original compositions of Christian prayers by Regula Curti, a Christian; as well as chanting and readings by Tina Turner, a practicing Buddhist.
Endorsed by His Holiness The Dalai Lama and the Abbot Martin Welen Osb, head of the Benedictine Monastery in Einsiedeln, Switzerland, Beyond is a warm, inspiring invitation to go beyond religious differences through music.
Dechen’s recordings of Tibetan chants were known at the Benedictine Monastery in Einsiedeln – which was how Regula learned about them. This led to a friendship between the two women, and then to His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Abbot Martin Welen Osb convening a ceremony of inter-religious dialogue at the Monastery, where the idea of Beyond was sown.
Beyond is Tina Turner’s first spiritual recording. In 1993, her autobiography I, Tina was made into a feature film called What’s Love Got To Do With It. The movie’s closing scene captures Tina chanting “Nam Myoho Renge Kyo“, the Lotus Sutra, a mantra that she has practiced for more than thirty years and credits with transforming her life.
“This is the first time that people heard me actually say the words Nam Myoho Renge Kyo in this respect,” says Tina. “In the movie I was there, chanting, but the sound, and all of it, is stronger now. I am very proud to be a part of this project … and I hope the whole world will hear it. It will hear a prayer that brought me this far and brought me to being a very happy person.”
The meaning of the Lotus Sutra is “I devote my life to the Mystic law of the Lotus Sutra.” It is the royal sutra of Nichiren Buddhism in Japan (1253). About the mantra, Tina says, “However, you must do it, to truly understand. When you say ‘Nam Myoho Renge Kyo’ it will slowly remove all of the bad decisions you have ever made. The more you repeat the words the more you make your life cleaner. The more you chant it the closer you get to your true nature. Your true nature is the right way of thinking and the right way of acting. The longer you go on this path, the more you avoid making wrong decisions. The Lotus Sutra helps me in my daily life. It is indeed mystical! And my life has proven this!”
In explaining her participation in Beyond, Tina, who contributed both spoken interludes and chanting, says she turned to Buddhism “in my bad times. When I needed help I started the practice, and I was motivated because the practice worked for me, and I’ve continued to do it because, up until now, it has supported me. And that’s the motivation: when something works. I will spread this word to everyone because that is a part of what Buddhism is, to pass it on in order for people to help themselves. With the Beyond project I’m glad to add my personal chants as an offering to the world to share a message of Oneness through music and prayer that goes beyond religious differences and helps bring humanity together.”
In Beyond, her inner strength and the power of her convictions is almost palpable.
“Tina is not just a singer,” says Waduda Paradiso, co-founder of New Earth Records. “She is a shamanic force. Her message of oneness, her call to overcome our fears, listen to each other and sing, are an invitation to go beyond.”
In their notes on the recording, Regula and Dechen write of experiencing “the immense power of deep spirituality whenever we chant together, although each person is praying in his own tradition.”
“With the CD Beyond, we wish to share our wonderful experience of connecting hearts and this great sense of oneness with as many people as possible … Singing takes you beyond to a place where love and compassion grow.”
In a personal message His Holiness, The Dalai Lama, writes “Bringing together corresponding pieces from Christian and Tibetan Buddhist traditions, as has been done here, will allow listeners to share in these prayers, stirring thoughts of deeper respect and peace in their lives.”
Dechen Shak-Dagsay, a native Tibetan mantra singer, is the eldest daughter of the late Yishi Tsedon Zatul and much respected Tibetan Lama Dagsay Tulku Rinpoche, author of the book “Practice of Tibetan Meditation.” Dechen’s family fled to India in 1959, escaping the Chinese occupation of Tibet, settling in Switzerland in 1963. Since 2005, she has released four CDs with New Earth Records. She has traveled and performed intensely all over the world and has been invited by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to sing at many of his events. His Holiness appointed her an Ambassador of Peace for the Tibetan people. “The many cultures and religions of the world offer a variety of paths to inner quiet and peace. For us Tibetans, reciting or singing mantras is one of the most effective ways of quickly producing a peaceful state of mind. The mantras play a very important role in the Buddhist Practice and they are an integral part for the practitioner on his spiritual path.”
Regula Curti, the Founder and Managing Director of The Center of Therapy & Education SEESCHAU, The House of Resounding Emptiness in Zurich, Switzerland, is a music and art therapist, and a singing teacher. Additionally, she is trained in an ancient yoga technique, Yogi Bhajan’s Kundalini Yoga, which allows Regula to complement the therapeutic offerings at the SEESCHAU Center with lessons on spiritual and contemplative practices. Having worked with Buddhist and Hindu prayers in the tradition of the Sikhs inspired Regula to also sing and teach the Christian prayers. This is her debut album. “For me, the realization of Beyond is a dream come true. Inspired by my students, patients, and colleagues at the SEESCHAU Center, I feel that this project will serve as a shining reminder of the Earth’s heart ability to heal and to connect in gratitude to all those who contributed to this project.”
All artist proceeds from the recording will go towards supporting three non-profit organizations affiliated with the artists with a focus on the welfare of children.
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- Bhuchung K. Tsering: His Holiness the Dalai Lama: Role Model (huffingtonpost.com)
- Dalai Lama vows to fight for Tibetan cause till the end (nowpublic.com)
- Tibet on Staten Island (online.wsj.com)
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