Thursday, May 29, 2014

Poh Ming Tse- Bodhicitta M.U.S.I.C programme batch 2 graduation ceremony

On 28th May 2014, Wednesday, a new batch of MUSICians has been born out of the collaboration between PMT and Bodhicitta.

PMT is a quite an old temple in Singapore, but has gotten a new modern looking building in 2009. Since then, Poh Ming Tse has been nonsectarian, allowing any Buddhist groups to rent their place for an event or class. Many classes are held there from all three traditions. Due to it's dedicated and super good committee members, staff and patron, PMT is open enough to make a collaboration with Bodhicitta.

Bodhicitta is a music band formed in 1997, inspired by the Dhamma, since then over 100,000 albums they as produced has been circulated. Their music style is smoothing, and they are nonsectarian, they sing songs based on any of the three traditions. They were looking for young talented Buddhist musicians to train and keep Buddhist music alive and has been in talks with many temples before PMT.

In 2012, the temple and the music band has formed their collaboration and decided to train a selected group of students with interviews to train every week, starting 2013.

Now it's 2014 and the second batch of their first of three modules has just graduated from 10 weeks of weekly Wednesday training. M.U.S.I.C. captures the aim of the MUSICians group. Motivate and Unite the practice of the Dhamma. Smooth the mind, Inspire and Care.

Personally, I know a lot of the batch one and not so many of the batch 2 people. I usually go to these music events as a karaoke session, singing with them. You see I have a large collection of Buddhist songs totalling almost 24 hours of playtime and I played them over and over again during my uni days. I believe I have two of the Bodhicitta albums. So I am quite familiar with their songs. These are nice stress out sessions for me.

Now for the structure, the songs are in many languages, with the session conducted in English, with Chinese translation. The opening puja song was in Pali, then there are English songs, Tibetan Matra songs, Chinese songs were featured too.

The programme trains them in using their musical skills to conduct a Buddhist activity using songs. There are also vocal trainings for the students. After graduation, they have a commitment to fulfill a certain hours of song presentations in PMT and their own Buddhist society. The batch one had presented in concerts, conferences and weddings in addition to the current monthly Sunday service with songs and Dhamma talk in PMT.

The style of their Buddhist music is to use music to allow the Dhamma to sink into people's heart. Thus it is very suitable to bring beginners or your free thinker friends to come and join in their performances. Some songs can even be a guide to relaxation and meditation. Some can lift the spirits up and motivate the listeners. It's also a very suitable place for those who can't learn Buddhism well from sutta readings to learn the Dhamma from the lyrics, tone of the songs, presentation, and the mind of the Buddhist songs leaders. Or if you just like Music, this can be the door for you to enter into the Dhamma.

Here's to greater heights and wider reach of the MUSICians!

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