By Tenzin Choephel
Phayul Correspondent in Kathmandu
Kathmandu, July 1: Nuns Welfare Foundation of Nepal presented the 7th annual fund raising concert by famous mantra singer Ani Choying Dolma called 'Inner Peace with Ani Choying Dolma' at Nepal Academy Hall, Kathmandu for an audience of over 600 people.
The chief guest of the afternoon, a Hindu saint, Swami Kamal Nayan Acharya lighted a butter lamp in front of a photo of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and statue of Lord Buddha, blessed Ani Choying Dolma and released her new album 'Inner Peace'. He said, "This is the first time I have attended such a function. People might be surprised to see me here but I am proud to be here because I listened to her songs and it really moved me. She is doing such work to support her school and I think it is not wrong for her to do such things for a good cause, I wish her all luck in the future".
Ani Choying started the concert with auspicious recitation of mantra 'Om Bendza Guru Padma Siti Hum' and a Hindu auspicious prayer. She said she was trying to do little things that make big difference and requested Ms. Anuradha Koirala, a former Nepalese minister to give away 100,000 rupees from the concert revenue to Mr. Uttam Sanjil, Director of Samata Sikshya Niketan, a Nepalese grassroots project that provides education to over 10,000 poor children in Nepal.
Ani Choying Dolma says, "Singing mantras help you to protect your mind from evil and distraction. By the blessings of all Buddhas and Bodhisatvas, singing mantras melodiously helps us to soothe our mind". With the blessing of her late teacher Urgen Rinpoche, she said she was been able to achieve all these things. Ani La also performed three mantras with famous musician Nhyoo Bajracharya on piano, one mantra in praise of Chenresig (Avalokiteswara), another spiritual feast song and a combination mantras of Padmasambhava, Deities and Vajrasatvas for long life, developing compassion and purifying all negative karma.
From then on Ani La performed Nepali songs that have spiritual messages. Accompanied by a full bench of musicians, she began with her Nepali chart buster "Phool ko aankha ma" and got the crowd moving, then there was surprise new faster music like pop and rock 'n' roll. "Those were composed so that audience would not be bored with too many slow mantras but they have important social messages, if I offend anyone with these rock and roll type songs, I would like to apologize", she said. She performed about eight Nepali songs and in the end performed her "Phool to aankha ma" again upon strong request by audience. Mr. Durga Lal Shrestha, a famous Nepali poet has written all her Nepali songs and all the music is composed by music director Nhyoo Bajracharya.
Her Arya Tara School is a unique institution providing free secular education along with traditional Buddhist training to nuns comprising of Tibetans and ethnic Himalayan Region people. It is located at Pharping, a holy Buddhist site just outside Kathmandu and has over 50 nuns studying at present.
A Tibetan among audience said, "Ani La has become a well established Nepali singer than a Tibetan nun singing mantras. She has adapted well into Nepali society but we must not forget that she is doing everything for a noble cause and preserving Buddhist traditions, be it for Tibetans or Nepali it does not matter, as a Buddhist, it is noble to help anyone".