Cyprian Consiglio and Rev. Heng Sure
Dedication of Merit/Compassionate
and Wise by
Rev. Heng Sure
are two monastic communities, Mahayana Buddhist and Benedictine
Catholic, who have used a piece of Loreena McKennitt's
music in our worship. We have recorded a song for free
download called (alternately) "Dedication
of Merit," and "Compassionate and Wise."
of Merit/Rev. Heng Sure - Free
Download - MP3(3MB)
May every living being,
Our minds as one and radiant with light,
Share the fruits of peace
With hearts of goodness, luminous and bright.
people hear and see,
How hands and hearts can find in giving, unity,
May their minds awake,
To Great Compassion, wisdom and to joy.
kindness find reward,
May all who sorrow leave their grief and pain;
May this boundless light,
Break the darkness of their endless night.
our hearts are one,
This world of pain turns into Paradise,
May all become compassionate and wise,
May all become compassionate and wise.
song "Dedication of Merit" (See Video Performance) was born as
an antidote to the grief and helplessness following
9/11 and the fall of the two towers. 250 Buddhists
and Catholics had gathered at a Benedictine Convent
in Indiana to investigate the Rule of St. Benedict
from a Buddhist perspective.
Mary Margaret Funk invited the Buddhists to provide a dedication
of merit, a practice of sharing with the world all the
goodness created by any wholesome action. Using the mind
to broadcast goodness is an effective form of spiritual
Abbot of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas and I accepted
the challenge and the night before the conference concluded,
we managed to translate into English the 1300 year-old
Chinese Buddhist verse. Needing a tune, my thoughts spontaneously
recalled Ms McKennitt's "Dark Night of the Soul." I
matched our translation and her melody and they joined
like body and soul.
next day the participants, holding candles, processed out
to the driveway of the convent, around the white marble
image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who resembles in so many
ways Guan Yin Bodhisattva, the Awakened Being of Great
Compassion. I introduced the new song, saying, "After
meritorious deeds of any sort, a Bodhisattva, an Awakened
Being, can share the goodness with the world by making
a wish and dedicating the merit. The scope of your mind
and the sincerity of your heart determines the efficacy
of your vows. When, as today, so many hearts dedicate together,
the effect can change the world in profound ways."
that September day, one week after the attack in New York,
our hearts that sought relief and healing carried our wishes
aloft, borne by the new song. Ms McKennitt's melody delivered
healing - - we could almost see the thoughts of the assembly
take form and rise on the wings of sacred music. Dozens of
people came forward afterwards and thanked me for the unexpected
healing delivered by a Buddhist-Catholic liturgy, a song that
sounded to them as familiar as a hymn and as powerful as prayer.
This experience demonstrated to me the ability of music to
move the heart and benefit the world, beyond religious boundaries.
another Buddhist-Christian meeting, after I heard Cyprian
Consiglio, a Christian monk and fellow guitar player, lead
the singing of intercessory prayers, I said to him, "We
Buddhists have the same kind of practice," and told
him about the song. After hearing it sung by my Buddhist
congregation, he asked if he might sing it.
and his collaborator, John Pennington, adapted it a bit
from my version, adding percussion, and a Sanskrit chant,
the metta bhavana mantra. Since that day, Cyprian has performed
the song to conclude liturgies and concerts around the
globe, from India to Italy, from New Jersey to New Mexico.
He calls it "Compassionate and Wise" and he reports
the same response: people feel healed by the tune.
Cyprian introduces it this way:
is an intercessory prayer taught to me by my Buddhist brother
monk, Rev. Heng Sure. The lyric is translated from Chinese
and its melodic setting was written by a gifted Canadian
composer, Loreena McKennitt. She wrote the melody for a
verse by a Catholic Mystic, St. John of the Cross. I'm
a Roman Catholic hermit and I've added a Sanskrit peace
mantra to bring it full circle. I'm on this bridge to world
peace and I'm staying on it!"
and Wise - Fr. Cyprian Consiglio - Free
Download - MP3(5.3MB)
Fr. Cyprian and John Pennington have recorded the song but not released it;
now the three of us are thrilled to learn that Ms McKennitt has most graciously
given permission for us to circulate the song, and continue its healing
ministry. Our respective Buddhist, Catholic and Interfaith congregations
will be grateful, and living beings can benefit.
Loreena McKennitt - Web
I hope that our versions will result in heightened interest in Ms McKennitt's
the "Dark Night of the Soul" tune and her on-going ministry of
setting of transcendent lyrics into transcendent melodies.