The teachings or Dharma of the Buddha mention music on many occasions. It is written in an important Buddhist text the Amitabha Sutra, that heavenly singing and chanting is heard all day and night in the world around us. As flowers softly rain down from the heavens; as birds produce beautiful and harmonious music; the blowing of a gentle breeze; the movements of jewel trees all being played together in harmony, in order to guide sentient beings to enlightenment. Music comes from a different realm.
According to David Clarke and Eric Clarke, studying music makes it clear that consciousness is as much to do with minds, bodies, culture, and history. Their book ‘Music and Consciousness; Philosophical, Psychological, and Cultural Perspectives’, which includes several chapters drawing from Eastern philosophies, also provides a corrective to any perception that the study of consciousness is a purely Western preoccupation.
Did you know that Adam “MCA” Yauch (Beastie Boys) left a legacy that is much deeper and coarser than the raspy throat which inevitably failed him at the young age of 47. This musician’s life was particularly nuanced. At first a rebellious, drug-yielding bad boy, he matured into a gentle, clear-minded, peaceful soul who quietly gave back to the world through the Tibetan Freedom Concerts he organized in the late ’90s. It is through this transformation that we must appreciate his legacy and understand the relationship between music and spirituality. There is a connection between performers and listeners that can facilitate a loving kindness between all involved.
As Ravi Shankar once said when asked if music is essentially spiritual: “The highest form in music is spirituality.” When it is, the effect on us — our thoughts, our emotions, our subconscious, and even our physical well-being — can be quite profound. He mentions and believes it is the responsibility of the creators of music to recognize their influence and express themselves with truth, consciousness, and integrity.
Watch this interesting movie with famous Pop Icon Tina Turner who turned to Buddhism to find more ways to be creative, to be love and to find inner peace.