Encore Ani Choying

Rita Dhital


The Nun’s Welfare Foundation (NFW) in Nepal organised its Sixth Annual Fund Raising Event, ‘Smile With Ani Choying,’ a live concert by internationally acclaimed singer of Nepali songs and Buddhist hymns and chants, Ani Choying Dolma, at Royal Nepal Academy, Kamaladi

on June 25. Starting with the recitation of Padmasambhawa, a mantra that is believed to have the capacity to clear all negativity in human beings, Choying proceeded with her most appreciated song, “Phoolko Aankhama” and a greeting “Jai hos timro mangala hos,” from her previous Nepali album “Moments of Bliss.” Then she started singing some songs and bhajans from her newly launched album, “Smile.” One of the songs set to folk tune, “Chulbule ay chanchale” got an overwhelming response from the audience. “For me all my songs are prayers, so I want you to listen very carefully to the words, messages and meanings that my songs convey because they are more special than my voice itself,” Choying said. “Batuwa hun batuwa batai mero dhan,” she believes, explains the present state of her life, traveling and singing to earn money for making lives better. She was about to end the show with the title song of the new album, “Ichha mero eutai chha bhagawan, sabko mukhama dekhun mitho muskan” but the audience made her sing Phoolko aankhama once again. After all what would be the other alternatives than this to put the concept and message of Buddha into right practice!

Born in 1971, Ani became a nun at the age of 13 and was educated in Buddhist meditation, chants, rituals, and ceremonies under her guru where she soon became a chant master. But the songs she sang were not comprehensible to the common people as they were either in Sanskrit or Tibetan. With the help of poet and songwriter Durgalal Shrestha and composer Nhu Bajracharya, she came up with her first collection of Nepali songs - ‘Moments of Bliss’- in 2004. Her new album ‘Smile’ is already available in the market. All in all, she has released five albums - ‘Cho’ (1997), ‘Dancing Dakini’(1999) and ‘Choying’ (2000) ‘Moments of Bliss’ (2004) and ‘Smile’(2005) - among which two are collections of Nepali songs. The songs in both her Nepali albums are written by Shrestha and composed by Bajracharya. “Realising that the religious order also practises patriarchy innocently and unintentionally in the field of education, I felt that something should be done for the welfare of young nuns,” informed Choying at the concert. Therefore, she said, she founded NWF in 1998 with a mission to combine traditional Buddhist studies with modern education. Since 2000 the foundation is running a school, Arya Tara, which is providing formal education to 33 nuns free of cost. Choying has further plans to expand the capacity of the school to 100. They are also constructing their own school building at Pharping which will have the said capacity. The proceeds from her performances in Nepal and abroad and the sale of her recorded CDs and cassettes provide the expenses for running her school and the Pharping project.