Choying is a guitarist from Wisconsin and a Tibetan expatriate nun.

"At the heart of Tibetan Buddhism is a unique combination of altruism and indestructible self-confidence, and this union is clearly embodied in the religious songs and music of Choying Drolma." --Rycodisc


In 1994, guitarist Steve Tibbetts was on retreat in the Himalayas and visiting Nagi Gompa, a Buddhist nunnery in the foothills, when he heard about a nun with an extraordinarily beautiful voice. While hearing her sing he used a micro-recorder but he was so captivated by her he forgot to turn the tape over. He came back the next year with professional recording equiptment and created Cho-- a remarkable album from Hannibal Records.

Chö (meaning "cutting") is the contemplative system of Tibetan Buddhism practiced by Choying and her colleagues. It involves the yogi or yogini mentally offering his or her own body as a means of severing attachment, literally "cutting through ego-clinging and the traditional four demons." The training is based on the tradition of Prajnaparamita (transcendent knowledge), in which the practitioner sees through the illusion of a solid reality by recognizing the insubstantial nature of all things. The religious songs that accompany this tradition have been passed from accomplished masters to worthy students for hundreds of years. Tibetans do not regard this music as folk music, but rather perceive the depth of meaning in these songs as capable of enhancing understanding and transforming ordinary experience. The nuns' otherworldly voices strike the heart and soul with a transcendent beauty that could convince even the most cynical listener of the oneness of the universe.

Choying's long-term goal is to build a college of philosophy for other nuns in Nepal. "So far," she says, "only the monks have the chance to learn all the profound aspects of Buddhist philosophies. I want to create an institute where my fellow nuns can receive an equal education." In addition to her more serious pursuits, Choying enjoys a wide variety of Western music and numbers Whitney Houston, Tracy Chapman and Dan Seals among her favorite singers. Proceeds from the sales of Chö will go to support more secular concerns; first on the list is the purchase of a solar heating system for Nagi Gompa's water supply.

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