There has been a bootleg recording circulating now for decades in yoga and meditation communities rumored to be of the Dalai Lama chanting for a dying friend.
It came into my possession the way it comes to most people -- a yoga friend gave me a burned CD with the following written on it by hand:
'Dalai Lama's Chant to Heal All Illness: Please Distribute.'
I immediately fell in love with this powerful chant, and the story that came with it was certainly compelling.
Here's how it goes:
The Dalai Lama had a friend who was dying, and His Holiness chanted this healing mantra at his bedside. His Holiness at first refused to allow it to be recorded, but then relented on the condition that it never be sold.
What a great story.
Unfortunately,the story of the 'Dalai Lama Healing Chant' isn't true. At least, not entirely.
First, the recording was meant to be sold (all those bootlegged cassettes, CDs, and mp3s made over the years are illegal copies which infringe the chanter's copyright).
And secondly, the person chanting is not the Dalai Lama. It is Hein Braat, a Dutch performer and devoted practitioner of mantra yoga.
How can I be so sure?
Awhile back, I posted the recording on my yoga web site. An authorized distributor of Mr. Braat's work asked me to take it down. Unbeknownst to me, I had been violating the copyright as so many others have done over the years, robbing Mr. Braat of his duly earned royalties! If you are familiar with the tradition of yoga, then you know very well there's a tenet of asteya, or non-stealing.
I mean no disrespect to His Holiness (who had nothing to do with the perpetuation of this untruth), but the myth --and the robbery -- has gone on long enough. It's time to give credit where credit is due!
The truth in the rumor is this:The mantra on the recording is indeed a powerful healing chant.
To be precise, it's the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra from the Rig Veda, a prayer invoking Shiva.
Its roots are firmly in the Vedic tradition, not the Buddhist tradition of the Dalai Lama. (Buddhism does not recognize the Vedas as authoritative.)
I hope the fact that it's not His Holiness the Dalai Lama or even Buddhist doesn't diminish the appeal of this mantra of healing for you.
There are many other quality recordings of the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra by other artists, but Hein Braat's unusual devotion and hauntingly rich voice bring this mantra alive in a unique fashion.
The repitition of the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra over time changes your mental and spiritual inner landscape, inviting direct healing or pointing your intention to where you might find it.
This healing chant is also said to be a 'liberation chant,' leading one away from the cycle of suffering and death into the realm of pure consciousness.