The Dalai Lama made a bid for music chart stardom on Monday, his 85th birthday, with the release of an album of mantras and teachings.
“Inner World” kicks off with the track “One Of My Favourite Prayers” and continues with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader reciting meditations and sayings with accompanying music.
The record came about when musician Junelle Kunin, a student of the Dalai Lama from New Zealand, contacted him in 2015 with the idea – and much to her surprise he said yes.
“I thought I’d have to try and convince him,” she told Reuters in an interview from her home in Auckland.
“That moment of recording him, my goodness I was shaking like a leaf before I went in there,” she said.
Kunin did the initial recordings at the Dalai Lama’s residence in Dharamsala in India.
Once back home, she worked with her husband Abraham and other musicians to produce music for the tracks.
“It’s an incredible honour. But it was unbelievably, daunting like the trust and responsibility. It’s immense,” Abraham Kunin said.
On a promotional video for the album, when asked why he had agreed to take part, the Dalai Lama answers: “The very purpose of my life is to serve as much as I can.”
The release comes five years after Patti Smith led the crowd at Britain’s Glastonbury Festival singing Happy Birthday to him for his 80th.