Tibetan Buddhism -Theremin connexion ?

Posted: 3/28/2008 4:48:23 PM

From: Lincoln, England

Joined: 3/28/2008

I'm hoping I may have made a liably interesting discovery whilst recently watching a video of the Theremin (my favourite instrument!) being played, and therefore am seeking the assistance of a volunteer player! My earlier knowledge of watching a Theremin being played was from its earliest conception, more or less flat hands being used, but when I recently saw a particular arrangement of the hand - thumb and next finger coiled in circle, other fingers curling away, it reminded me of the finger position of the Tibetan female Bodhissatva Tara. I employ a certain mantra dedicated to Tara and I'm wondering if her mantra was played on Theremin herein may await what the visual icons of her are relating to, in the sense of music/vibration/frequency etc. Is it a sort of sign language - a clue to aspire us to some form of awakening? Tibetan Buddhism and Theremin - now there's a combination!
If there are any kindly Theremin players out there who would allow me to send you me enunciating her mantra and you would agree to play it on Theremin for me - well, what an experiment! Please get in touch!
Posted: 3/28/2008 6:12:26 PM
Ernesto mendoza

From: Mexico city Mex

Joined: 1/7/2006

I have been thinking in a relation between Zen and Theremin and i think the´re both strange related, Sound without touch, language without words, feel without feel. Silence and sound. I am in zen , and in a certain way i love the idea of control emotions and balance with Theremin playing, it is like meditation and mantra.
Stop violence in tibet ¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡
Posted: 3/29/2008 6:22:51 AM

From: Lincoln, England

Joined: 3/28/2008

Great to hear that, Ernesto - continue researching your inspirations. I can take it a step further if you wish...Zen-buddhism-autism connexion.feel without feel...sound without sound .. if you wish,see 'Buddha and the Autist' at our old site a fraction still remaining at; http://www.geocities.com/buddhaautist/
...but lets keep the research here at Theremin level....I feel it does belong in there!
Any players willing to help me out? (I live in England) Respect and admiration to all Thereminists!
Posted: 3/29/2008 11:17:21 AM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

Nice to see some others speaking these considerations. Thank you for your bravery.

Very first when the theremin found me, so many connections to Tibetan Buddhism, the use of singing bowls for music and contemplation training, the precise positionings of classical Indian dance, finger spelling, and most deeply: the power of sound itself; formed at an amazing rate.
Maybe it is common for new comers to make tons of connections to what they know or wonder about to try and find a way into understanding space controlled playing.

When I naively posted ponderings like "is the theremin the singing bowl of the electric age?" on other lists before finding TW, unfortunately the responses were quick and not always kind. So mostly I keep them private.

But regardless of your beliefs regarding spirit, science, sound, music and theremin playing; I hope most folks can come together on the idea that whatever is behind *all that is*, the power of the human mind is astounding, vast, and still mostly untapped and unknown.

Every person I have ever seen, when they enter the field and start to play change in stance and inner attitude. Listening, relaxation, focus, and balance are key to thereminizing and common to many other disciplines: musical spiritual and martial.

What I actually "perceive" playing and watching players of the theremin is so profound and simple, it is the constant reminder and reward for me and why I brought the theremin into my life and feel dedicated to it more every day.

If you can
Get a theremin
Get set up
who knows, something neat may come to you.

The theremin reveals itself and exposes us who play it in the most direct ways I've ever seen.
Lev's simple and effective design were genius and a lasting gift to the planet.

Please keep us posted on your theremin journey,
and welcome to ThereminWorld!
- John

Posted: 3/30/2008 2:52:50 PM

From: Lincoln, England

Joined: 3/28/2008

I thank you for a brilliant reply and response, it adds to my conviction that the Theremin is key to Tibetan buddhism and beyond. Ernesto's 'sound without sound/language without words/feel without feel/silence and sound' appears to confirm another connexion/hypothesis of mine whereby there is a tangible connexion between various Schools of the Eastern Buddhist's search for enlightenment and the unfolding and ongoing evolution of the autistic consciousness, as evinced in the common aspiration of turning within,detachment and elaborate ritual. My growing suspicions are that it is a most special instrument among instruments - we must all investigate further.
Continued thanks to all out there...let's have more!
Posted: 3/31/2008 3:34:16 PM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

I'm happy you feel a conviction that the Theremin is key to Tibetan Buddhism and beyond and I hope it motivates you to learn to play it. But please don't get me wrong.

Any connection between our spirituality and the Theremin is in *us*,
it's our mental connection, and may help in our search to understand the instrument.

Really there is no innate link between them except what we create in our own minds.
And what we create in our own minds, no matter how helpful, is ultimately an illusion.

No matter what...
get one, play it, and keep on playing.
Let us know which one you decide on and how the aether enlightenment proceeds!

Posted: 6/6/2008 3:49:47 PM

From: Eastleigh, Hampshire, U.K. ................................... Fred Mundell. ................................... Electronics Engineer. (Primarily Analogue) .. CV Synths 1974-1980 .. Theremin developer 2007 to present .. soon to be Developing / Trading as WaveCrafter.com . ...................................

Joined: 12/7/2007

[i]"Any connection between our spirituality and the Theremin is in *us*,
it's our mental connection, and may help in our search to understand the instrument.[/i]

I agree with the above.. it is 'in' *us*.. But I do think that the combination of physical control, stillness, being present in the 'now', and the 'meditative' state required by the Theremin may facilitate 'opening' of our 'minds' to a slightly shifted level of conciousness.

Intellectually, I am quite 'hard nosed' and agnostic - "Spiritual feelings" are, to me, mostly an internal / biochemical process - we can get these feelings by anything which causes the 'right' chemicals to be released into the brain... True "Spirituality" is, I believe, something far more daring and radical and difficult and often painful - it is love in ACTION.. It is REALLY "turning the other cheek" and "loving the unlovable" and no drugs or theremins or yoga or meditation can do this,.. Only empathy and compassion can..

But sometimes our minds get so swamped by disasters and sadness and horror at what we see in the world, that our compassion gets overloaded - There seems to be no point in doing anything, because it is all so hopeless..

Perhaps this is when meditation or playing the Theremin has a healing effect - it allows us to re-focus, be in the 'now' and eases some "compassion fatigue" - Allowing us to see that we can do something - even if we cannot do everything.

I am placing the link below - I hope this is acceptable, and will remove it if not.. My brother went to Burma a few weeks before the cyclone, and started this charity because he was so moved by the plight of the children there THEN.. Duncan has been a hard nosed businessman and his contact with these children and the monks and others working with them has changed him so dramatically that I almost cannot believe the transformation. This thread just seemed to beg me to put this link here - If I have been wrong doing so, I am sorry, and will remove it.


[b]A Single Starfish[/b]
[i]By Loren Eisley[/i]

"As a man was walking along a beach reflecting on his life, one of his thoughts was that no matter how he tried to make a difference he always seemed to be spitting in to the wind.

He felt a crunch under his feet and looking down saw that the beach was covered in thousands and thousands of starfish washed up by the tide. He continued his stroll, thinking how cruel the ocean was as they would all be dead by morning.

Further on he came upon a lady throwing starfish back into the sea. He said to her "for every starfish you throw back three more are washed up on the shore- how can you be making any difference to the situation?" The women looked thoughtful, picked up another starfish, threw it into the sea, smiled and said [b] "made a difference to that one!" [/b]

Posted: 2/10/2010 2:43:29 PM

From: Niles, Michigan USA

Joined: 2/10/2010

I am also investigating the spiritual implications of the Theremin, but in a bit a differnet light. I have been working with Chakra and aura attunement and the THeremin. I have also been incorporating various crystals and meditative techniques withe THeremin, especially kyanite, quartz, celestite, amethyst and tormaline. I have found some remarkable results and been working with these and toning to create a trully healing music. Has anyone else been experimenting in this direction?
Posted: 2/14/2010 7:17:22 AM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

The hand positions of Hindu yogis and the later Buddhist sects are called "mudras". Generally speaking, when you see a yogi or a Buddhist meditator using a mudra that incorporates a circle formed by touching the tip of the index finger to the tip of the thumb, it is symbolic of the "dharmachakra" the so-called "Wheel of the Law".

What is interesting about this in relation to the theremin is that this hand position was insisted upon by Clara Rockmore who once said that the reason we use it is to "grip" the notes in the air. In other words, we use it in order to be able to physically grasp the non-physical. Indeed, that is the purpose of the "dharma" (a Sanskrit word referring to a spiritual path or teaching).

There is a slightly more esoteric interpretation of the classic dharmachakra mudra which was described to me many years ago (when I lived in India) by a much respected Brahmin yogi.

Hinduism, contrary to the impression many people have of it, is not polytheistic. It is staunchly monist. The sacred Hindu texts (such as the Bhagavad Gita, or "Song Of God") insist that there is only One (which they call "Atman") and that multiplicity in the universe is an illusion. The mudra of the circle formed by the thumb and index with the other four fingers extended, in this context, is a symbol of the Whole surrounded by appearance of duality - the Atman surrounded by "maya" (or "illusion").

In other words, it is a symbol of EVERYTHING - what IS and what seems to be.

Back in the 1960's I spent an afternoon with the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala where he lived. At the time, he was not the controversial international celebrity he is today and he was fairly accessible. Tibetan Buddhists believe that the Dalai Lama is the reincarnation of the Buddha himself (who, in turn, was the incarnation of Avalokiteshvara, the embodiment of universal compassion). I asked His Holiness, among other things, if he had any recollection of having been Gautama Siddhartha (the Buddha) in a past life.

"Good heavens!" he replied laughing. "I can't even remember what I had for breakfast!" (LOL)

When you ask Tibetan Buddhists about their belief that the Dalai Lama is the reincarnation of the Buddha, they will tell you that this is an ancient tradition going back to the time of the Buddha himself. This is not true. The fact is, it is a dogma that was introduced in the 17th century following the Mongol conquest of Tibet by Gusri Khan, who created the "Dalai" Lama ("Dalai" is a Mongolian word, not a Tibetan word, meaning "vast").

The Dalai Lama will be visiting President Obama this Thursday (Feb. 18). I am so pleased that Obama was not intimidated by the Chinese and that he is going ahead with the promised visit. A few years ago, Canadian officials hustled His Holiness into the parliament buildings in Ottawa through a back door so as not to ruffle Chinese feathers! And he did not meet the Canadian Prime Minister who refused to see him! It was a disgrace!

Keep playing the Tara-min.
Posted: 2/16/2010 7:03:12 PM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

C'mon guys! This is such an interesting topic - different and original.

Somebody say something!

On the other hand, maybe it's the wrong SIG for the thread.


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