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Chinese Buddhist music concert makes a hit in Hollywood(03/22/04)

    LOS ANGELES, March 21 (Xinhuanet) -- "It's beautiful, the Buddhist music purifies my mind," claimed Eric Emerzian, a local road construction designer, after watching the Chinese Buddhist music concert Sunday in Kodak Theater in Hollywood.

    "I'll go to San Francisco to watch the second performance when the troupe moves there next Sunday," he said, adding that more such concerts should be staged in the US to enable the Americans to have a better understanding of Buddhism and Chinese culture.

    Kodak Theater, home to the renowned Oscar film award ceremonies, was packed on Sunday.

    "It's not a usual phenomenon that all the 3,400 seats of the theater have been sold out," said Natalie Vo, director of marketing with the theater. "And this is also the first time for a Chinese music troupe to stage a concert in our theater".

    The concert performed by monks from China's mainland and China's Taiwan attracted not only Buddhist followers, but also believers of other religions including Protestants, Catholics and Moslems.

    Rev. Alexei Smith of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles said that he understood what the Chinese Buddhist music was conveying though he is a Catholic.

    "Its about something good, harmony and peace," he said, adding that his religion also prays for such things.

    Buddhist music, which originated in ancient India, found its way into China some 2,000 years ago, and after absorbing elements of traditional Chinese folk music, court music and other religious music, a unique form which is now call Chinese Buddhist music came into being, although it has different genres.

    The monks of the troupe come from prestigious Buddhist temples in China, including Fo Guang Shan in Taiwan, Shaolin Temple in central Henan Province, Laboleng Lamasery in northwestern Gansu Province and General Temple in southwestern Yunan Province. They represent the three branches of Buddhism in China, namely Chinese Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism and Pali Buddhism.

    Bhante Piyananda, Chief Sangha Nayake of America, was extremely happy to hear the singing of Buddhist sutras partly in Pali, his mother tongue in Sri Lanka, home to Pali Buddhism.

    "I could fully understand what the Chinese Buddhists are singing in Pali, and I hope they will travel to Sri Lanka to stage such performances," he said.

    The concert reached its climax amid waves of applause when monks from Shaolin exhibited Kungfu accompanied by Dao De Er music, a mixture of traditional Tibetan and Chinese folk music.

    There was a standing ovation when more than 130 monks concluded the concert with the singing of the Ode to the Triple Gem, calling for happiness and harmony of mankind.

    The Buddhist music performance was co-sponsored by the Buddhist Association of China (BAC) and Fo Guang Shan, with Venerable ShengHui, vice president of BAC, as the head of the troupe and Venerable Hsing Yun, master of Fo Guang Shan, as the honorary one. Since February this year, the music troupe has staged five successful performances in China's Taiwan, Macao and Hong Kong.

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