Gītassara Sutta: A Brief Commentary

Rod, from The Worst Horse and Shambhala SunSpace, posted this the other day on Facebook. It got my mind buzzing again, as it does from time to time, about the relevancy of music to Dharma practice.

The Gītassara Sutta

Bhikkhus, there are five dangers of reciting the Dhamma with a musical intonation. What five?

Oneself gets attached to the sound others get attached to the sound, householders are annoyed, saying, “Just as we sing, these sons of the Sakyan sing”, the concentration of those who do not like the sound is destroyed, and later generations copy it.

These, monks, are the five dangers of reciting the Dhamma with a musical intonation.

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A Place to Mellow Out, Without Losing Your Edge

From The New York Times

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Every week, dozens of people, usually young and artfully scruffy, climb three creaky flights of stairs off this formerly gritty stretch of downtown Manhattan, a block from where CBGB, the hallowed hall of punk, once stood. Often shrouded in hoodies, inked with tattoos and studded with piercings, they look primed for a serious rock show, and perhaps a few related vices. But in a softly lighted loft, in earshot of the traffic’s roar, they instead find a spot on the floor, close their eyes and take long, deep breaths.

Called Dharma Punx, the gathering is part of a nationwide Buddhism-based meditation network that is part Sid Vicious and part Dalai Lama.

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I forgot how much I enjoy playing music live!

As you all know by now, not only am I an insane fan of music (metal in particular) but I also front a band called Leukorrhea. Last night we played live for the first time in three years and what a fun show. I have to admit, I felt a bit like this was my first show, and had a tiny bit of nervousness. But as soon as the music played, I got back on that bike, and rocked it as hard as I could.

It was also great to see some old friends I haven’t seen, and to meet some new one’s. I can’t wait to do it again. Oh, there a video below if anyone cares to enure the metal, I know not many of you are big metal fans but…

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Go Green Death Metal Style!

My wife told me how she saw an episode of Mythbusters the other day and that I’d be interested in one of the myths they were trying to bust. They were testing out the theory that talking to your plants, or playing music near them, will help them grow. The results of the test from mythbustersresults.com is this:

Seven small greenhouses were set up on the M5 Industries roof. Four were set up with stereos playing endlessly looping recordings (as having the Mythbusters actually talk to the plants could contaminate the samples with their expelled carbon dioxide): Two of negative speech, two of positive speech (Kari and Scottie each made one positive and one negative soundtrack), a fifth with classical music and a sixth with intense death metal music. A seventh greenhouse, used as a control sample, had no stereo. The greenhouses with the recordings of speech grew better than the control, regardless of whether such talk was kind or angry. The plants in the greenhouse with the recording of classical music grew better, while the plants in the greenhouse with the recording of intense death metal grew best of all.

There you have it folks, death metal is the new green! I was a bit astonished, but being a death metal fan myself I was quite pleased with the results. Put away the Bach and Beethoven, turn up some Suffocation or Mortal Decay and watch those plants grow, grow, grow!

Silence Is Deafening

So I’ve been trying to find songs and or videos that sum up my feelings for death metal, and the words behind songs people can’t understand. Not that they don’t “get it” it’s just they can’t understand the “cookie monster” vocals. This song in particular is one of my recent favorites, gives me a good lift before starting a shift at work, hehe.

Rather than explain my theory on this particular song, I’ve not only posted the lyrics but the video. I’m looking for your input here, yes you the “non”-death metal fan. What does the song portray to you, both lyrically and visually? There is a message… Click here to read more of this article

Meditation and Playing Live Music

Ed. Note — A friend of mine, Melle Kramer, from the Amsterdam based Death Metal band Obsidian had mentioned something a while back that would make for a good article for this here blog. The idea was the parallel of meditation practice and playing live on stage in front of a crowd of people. I tossed the idea about and figured, why not have a guest writer, so I asked Melle to write it, and here it is. At the bottom of the article are links to check out his band to see what they are up to and maybe check out some music, it’s well worth your time, the band rules!

“Being a very integration-oriented spiritual tradition, Buddhism often invites you to discover opportunities for practice and insight in ordinary, daily things. Like – for example – the passing of clouds which might inspire a reflection of impermanence, or on the temporarily obscuring aspect of disturbing emotions.
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The Firstborn “Unclenching of Fists”

What exactly is The Firstborn you ask? They are a death metal outfit from Lisbon, Portugal. And why write about them here? Well if you’ve read some of the other posts here on this blog, I am a huge death metal fan. That’s partly where the title of this blog came from, but anyway, back to the reason I wanted to write this. The Firstborn has been around for many years now (over 10) and have been working very hard to get their music heard. What amazes me is they are not more known, because they are really top of the line I think.

What makes them really different though is the fact their lyrical content is not typical of a death metal band, it’s not all blood and gore and horror stories. No, the most recent CD “The Unclenching Of Fists” is actually a concept album, written with the Tibetan Book of The Dead in mind. I asked Bruno why they decided to use this as a concept and he says…
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