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Meditation and Music

Basket of Plums

Meditation and Music have coexisted all along. Chants, Mantras, Kirtans, Bhajans, Hymns, Niggunim, and Sabbath Songs have accompanied spiritual practice through the ages.

Joseph Emet has contributed to this tradition with his songs for the practice of Mindfulness Meditation. Music plays an important part in the practice of Plum Village. Joseph collected and recorded the songs he found at Plum Village, and he also set to music many of Thich Nhat Hanh's poems.

His work has been published by Parallax Press with the title Basket of Plums. Basket of Plums consists of 41 songs on two CD's with the sheet music for each song. It has a foreword by Thich Nhat Hanh.

It is available from Parallax Press. Basket of Plums is also published in Thailand, Hong Kong, and in South Korea.

Having a practice song continuously in mind goes a long way towards keeping our mental state in a positive direction. It is a reminder.

Thich Nhat Hanh has praised Joseph's work by calling him 'A Boddhisattva of Music.'


Sample Songs:


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Lyrics:

These songs have been inspired by the poetry, talks, and the teaching of Thich Nhat Hanh. Some are adaptations of traditional tunes, and others are original compositions by Joseph Emet.

1.  HAPPINESS MAKES YOU BEAUTIFUL

Happiness makes you beautiful like a spring meadow in bloom,
Where daffodils and lilies grow and grasses sway in the breeze.

Happiness is a flower that grows in a pure heart,
Where daffodils and lilies grow and grasses sway in the breeze.

Please walk with gentleness in a spring meadow in bloom
Where daffodils and lilies grow and grasses sway in the breeze.

The tender flower of happiness is more precious than gold
Enchanting all with its fragrance and sowing seeds in the wind.

 

2. SIMPLE GIFTS

‘Tis a gift to be simple, ‘tis a gift to be free,
‘This a gift to come down where we ought to be
Then we find ourselves in the place just right,
In the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,
to bow and to bend we aren’t ashamed
In simple gifts of life we delight,
We enjoy them with a thankful heart.

 

3. PEACE IS EVERY STEP

Peace is every step,
the shining red sun is my heart
Each flower smiles with me,
How fresh, how green all that grows
How cool the wind blows
Peace is every step
It turns the endless path to joy.

 

4. HOW CAN I KEEP FROM SINGING

My life flows on in endless songs above Earth’s lamentation,
I hear a joyful melody that cuts through all affliction.
Through all the tumult and the strife I hear that music ringing,
It brings me joy with every breath, how can I keep from singing.

Each time I see that through my fear a peaceful nature is shining,
With love of friends both near and far, how can I keep from singing.
The storms don’t shake me deep down while to that tune I’m listening,
With love for all beings in my heart, how can I keep from singing.

 

5. I LEARN EACH MOMENT

I learn each moment to be a better lover,
I learn each moment to discover my true love.