Meditations on the wholeness of being
From the Sanskrit word for ‘circle’ or ‘completion,’ the title of this recording refers to a wide variety ofsymbols that prevail throughout several spiritual traditions.
Generally speaking, the mandala is anyplan, chart, or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos, either metaphysically or symbolically, andserves, from the human perspective, as a microcosmic image of the entire universe. In many traditions,the mandala is employed as a teaching tool to focus the attention of those who aspire to greaterspiritual depths, and to establish a sacred space to aid in meditation. The symbolic nature of themandala allows one to progress more deeply into the unconscious and experience a mystical onenesswith the cosmos. Even psychoanalyst Carl Jung saw the mandala as a representation of the unconscious self, and believed his paintings of mandalas helped him to identify emotional disordersand achieve wholeness and healing of the personality.
Originally found in Hinduism, mandalas that echo the image of the lotus are built into the ground floor plan of most Hindu temples, for this sacred flower transcends the darkness and mud of its roots in the murky swamp to form pristine blossoms of perfectly-symmetrical petals. In Tibetan Buddhism, mandalas are prevalent in the colorful but fleeting art of sand-painting. In esoteric Christianity, mandalas occur in illuminations of the cross, halo, rosary, and in the rose windows of the Catholic Church. In Islam, a faith dominated by sacred geometry, the dome of the mosque represents the arch of the heavens, and brings the attention of the faithful toward Allah. Even the medicine wheel and dream catcher of the native North Americans, and the initiating bora rings of the indigenous Australians can be considered to be mandalas, for their circular patterns serve as the sites for these sacred rites.
In more contemporary Western society, the concept of the mandala is used to describe the personal world in which one lives: the activities and interests in which one partakes, as well as those with whom one chooses to associate. MANDALA: such an allencompassing word makes a fitting title for a recording (a CD is a circle, after all!) of choral music themed around meditations on the wholeness of being. Singing in a variety of Eastern languages, The Esoterics have given voice to meditations of several faiths and spiritual practices, including verses inspired by Sufism (by director Eric Banks), Hinduism (by Roger Nelson and Diane Thome), Taoism (by Linda Waterfall, Mark Adamo, and Stephen Paulus), and Buddhism (by John Muehleisen and Donald Skirvin). Each of these eight self-published choral meditations has been composed in the last 15 years, and seven of these were first premiered in concert by The Esoterics.
With MANDALA, The Esoterics has taken another step in its mission: to create and perpetuate a cappella choral music that embraces and illuminates texts found outside the Judeo-Christian canon, and gives voice to poetry, philosophy, and spiritual writings from around the world.
As an aural homage to the nature of this sacred shape, MANDALA is The Esoterics’ first CD in 360-degree surround-sound.
|1||Jâvdâni (2003)||Eric Banks|
|2||Attaining immortality (2005)||Roger Nelson|
|3||All this (2004)||Diane Thome|
|4||Guang (2000)||Linda Waterfall|
|5||Supreme virtue (1997)||Mark Adamo|
|Meditations of Li Po (1994)||Stephen Paulus|
|6||And even my soul remains quiet|
|7||I lift my eyes to watch the mountain moon|
|8||And now the last cloud drains away|
|Watching the moon go down (2001)||John Muehleisen|
|9||Prologue: Clouds and moon|
|10||Meditations on the moon|
|11||Epilogue: The moon in my heart|
|Songs of enlightenment (2005)||Donald Skirvin|
|12||I take refuge|
|13||Verses and mantras of compassion|
|14||The fleeting world|