The Most Beautiful Sound

The sound of the chanting filled the world and opened it up at the same time. It floated like silken threads on the clear cool November air, and resonated deeply within, at once connecting me to everything -- and freeing me. Connected, but not entangled. Engaged, but not stuck. Is this what they mean when they speak about non attachment?

A Buddhist monk and the woman with him, both dressed in yellow robes, both with shaved heads, stood at microphones on a stage in the middle of the crowd of at least a couple of thousand, if memory serves me. The air itself vibrated with the chant. Air and chant were one. The sound vibrated inside me, and I became part of it. No one spoke, and no one fidgeted, even though the chanting continued on for a long while. The crowd of thousands was still and silent, yet the energy was undeniable. Just that sound, over and over: for twenty, maybe thirty minutes? I remember thinking I don't want this sound to ever end. And it wasn't repetitious, or tedious...it was a revelation. It was perfect. In the moment I entered that sound I knew it was the most beautiful sound I'd ever heard. I couldn't tell you what word it was they chanted. I couldn't replicate it. I wish I could have recorded it. I will never forget it. I think that sound could heal the world if only everyone could experience it.

Like others from across the U.S. and probably Canada as well, I had traveled to Georgia with my companions to participate in peaceful demonstration. It was one of many, many demonstrations and marches that were part of my life in those days. The days before 9/11. Before the un patriot act. Before the hi jacking of habeas corpus, the invasion of Iraq, the deaths of 4,000 troops, the swindling of too many others by a subsidiary of Halliburton, and other war profiteers. Before Katrina, before the subprime mortage meltdown, and the bridge collapse that almost took a school bus full of kids down with it. Back in those still idealistic days ...this Buddhist monk and his female counterpart--not sure if she'd be called a nun--were among the many speakers who would climb onto the outdoor stage that day, one by one, and speak to the people at the gathering--pleading a case for for peace and justice.

Today I read an account of a Buddhist monk who was severely beaten in Burma aka Myanmar. He was one of the monks in that predominantly Buddhist nation who have been marching and actively protesting the recent extreme economic hardships imposed on the Burmese people by the military government, the regime's crackdown on peaceful protest, and the arrests of activists. In his own words, he was beaten bloody until he lost consciousness, and was later dumped off at the monastery where he resides. I found this at Democratic Voice of Burma. http://www.dvb.no/ Go there and be appalled.

The International Labor Organization has been keeping an eye on Burma for its labor and human rights violations. ( I call it that in deference to the Burma democracy activists who still call their country Burma, even though it has been "officially" renamed Myanmar.)

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