Dalai Lama Marks 85th Birthday in a Big Way

Spiritual leader's first album, 'Inner World,' drops to help us 'transcend our differences'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2020 10:15 AM CDT
Dalai Lama Gets Ready to Climb the Charts
This cover image shows "Inner World," the first album by the Dalai Lama.   (Hitco Entertainment and Khandro Music via AP)

If you've been anxiously waiting for the Dalai Lama's first album to drop, your wait is over (and the album can help you with some of that residual anxiety). Inner World debuts Monday, on the occasion of the Buddhist spiritual leader's 85th birthday, leaving him on track to "[make] a bid for music chart stardom," as Reuters puts it. The album features 11 tracks of meditations, mantras, and teachings set to ambient music, per the dpa press agency. "Music has the potential to transcend our differences," he said in a statement cited by CNN. "It can return us to our true nature of warm-heartedness."

The concept for the album was first suggested to the Dalai Lama by New Zealand musician Junelle Kunin, who traveled to India in 2015 to record conversations with him at his Dharamsala residence. "My goodness, I was shaking like a leaf before I went in there," she tells Reuters. When she returned home, Kunin merged his words with music created by her husband, Abraham Kunin, and other musicians. For those who are wondering why the Dalai Lama would agree to this project, he offers a simple, very Dalai Lama-like answer: "The very purpose of my life is to serve as much as I can," he says in his statement. "Music can help people in a way that I can't." (More Dalai Lama stories.)

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