Theravāda Buddhist music of Thailand and China emphasizes the intricate relationship between time, space, synchronic and diachronic perspectives, and cultural memory. Synchronic structure acts as both an intermediary and a result of diachrony. In Theravāda Buddhism, music traces elements of cultural memory manifested in various types of ritual practice found in both China and Thailand.
Comparing the musical practices of these two countries enables an exploration of the similarities and differences in their musical characteristics within the organizational structure of their Theravāda Buddhist cosmological systems. Historical time in Theravāda Buddhist music, considered as “monumental time” or “social time”, correlates with spatial expressions of musical structure, highlighting the cultural affinities and contradictions that structure music in Theravāda Buddhist traditions across national borders.
Learn more in “Zhong, Tai Nanchuan Fojiao yinyue de jiegou erchongxing bijiao yanjiu” (A comparative study of the dual structure in the Theravāda Buddhist music of China and Thailand) by Dong Chen (Zhongyang Yinyue Xueyuan xuebao/Journal of the Central Conservatory of Music 2/171 , 42–58). This Chinese journal is a new addition for 2023 in RILM Abstracts with Full Text.
Celebrating International Migrants Day on December 18 with music that crosses borders!
Listen to Thai Theravāda Buddhist monks chanting Dhammacakka Sutta below.
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Scholars have long known that Wagner had a deep and lasting interest in Buddhism; less known are the specific insights garnered from Buddhism that are manifested in Parsifal. The key to understanding this connection is the enigmatic figure of Kundry.
Contrary to the common interpretation of Kundry as the incarnation of the will, and in light of Wagner’s admiration for Schopenhauer, she may be seen as the personification of desire. Desiring, which is different from wanting, is a fundamental aspect of Buddhism. As Buddha explained in his very first sermon, desire is the cause of suffering (dukkha). Buddhist teaching holds that suffering can only be overcome when desire is vanquished.
Kundry appears in three forms in Parsifal; these correspond to the three forms of desire in Buddhism. This interpretation aligns the work’s Christian, pagan, and Buddhist symbolism as an expression of the inner way that is shared by all who tread the path of religious mysticism. Through extensive study of Buddhism, Wagner came to understand the deeper side of all religions, a universal truth that all mediators of religious traditions come to understand.
This according to “Kundry: The personification of the role of desire in the holy life” by Pandit Bhikkhu (Cittasamvaro) (Wagnerspectrum III/2  pp. 97–114; RILM Abstracts of Music Literature 2007-20593).
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