Dalai Lama Releases First Single From Forthcoming Debut Album

It’s no secret that music is one of the great unifying forces of the world. Now, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is preparing to release a new album that mixes traditional Tibetan Buddhist mantras and chants with newly composed music. The album, Inner World, is set for release on July 6th to coincide with his 85th birthday.

The first single from the album is out now, called “Compassion.” It’s apparently based on one of the most famous Buddhist prayers, chanted by the Dalai Lama himself. It has a deep, musical backbone with a sort of dreamy melody and gentle instrumentation.

Inner World has been the idea of New Zealand musicians Junelle and Abraham Kunin since 2015, when they were finally able to successfully pitch the idea to one of the Dalai Lama’s assistants. Junelle wanted something to pair his teachings with music as a stress relief, but came up empty, and so chose to take the idea to the source himself.

Recalling her recording session with the Dalai Lama, Kunin said, “I’d never heard him speak like this. He really was so excited … he actually proceeded to explain to me how important music is. He leaned forward and his eyes were sparkling, and his fingers were rubbing together and he [talked] about how music can help people in a way that he can’t; it can transcend differences and return us to our true nature and our good heartedness.”

According to Rolling Stone, “Inner World will also feature a guest appearance from acclaimed sitar player Anoushka Shankar (daughter of Ravi Shankar), who appears on the album cut ‘Am La.’ Net proceeds from Inner World benefit the Mind & Life Institute as well as Social, Emotional and Ethical Learning, an international education program the Dalai Lama developed with Emory University.”

Listen to the first single, “Compassion,” below.

Inner World Track List

1. “The Buddha”
2. “One Of My Favourite Prayers”
3. “Compassion”
4. “Courage”
5. “Ama La”
6. “Healing”
7. “Wisdom”
8. “Purification”
9. “Protection”
10. “Children”
11. “Humanity”

Photo via Dalai Lama/YouTube