He Xuntian | Tathagata

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World: Asian New Age: Spiritual Moods: Type: Vocal
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by He Xuntian

Tathagata: One who has thus gone; One who has thus come.
Genre: World: Asian
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Heaven Outside of Heaven
5:00 album only
2. Tathagata
4:27 album only
3. Meditation
4:01 album only
4. The Heart of the Void
6:26 album only
5. The Realm of Forms
6:01 album only
6. The Wind in the Trees
4:05 album only
7. The Dance of the Four Dharmadhatus
5:06 album only
8. Tathagata - Thus Come; Thus Gone
10:45 album only


Album Notes
Tathāgata is a deliberately ambiguous name that can mean both “one who has thus gone,” as well as “one who has thus come.” In addition, some assert that the term can mean “one who has found the Truth.” The traveler who has thus come, gone, and found the Truth leaves no place unvisited; and because one who has thus come is always present, one need not turn to go anywhere.

A journey from this side of the river to the other shore, from dark void to the crystal clear, from wilderness to the Pure Land;

From the most unusual first step to the simplest last step;

From the confusion that characterizes human nature to the inception of spirituality;

This is Siddhartha’s path to Great Enlightenment, and the journey that everyone must eventually make.

The Evolution of Master Composer He Xuntian

With the first chimes resounding and still vibrating, listeners can sense that He Xuntian’s music has evolved onto a different path. Long tunes from the shores of the Black Sea sung like hymns by a mixed choir touch listeners’ bodies and souls. The first step of this new path highlights the breadth and depth of He Xuntian’s music, and is his first step toward a musical composition about Siddhartha.

The album is part of the series He Xuntian composed for The Collection of Buddhist Music at Wuxi Spiritual Mountain Monastery. Performed under the title The Path to Enlightenment, the piece portrays the life of Siddhartha, the Supreme Buddha, who abandoned his princely possessions, became a mendicant and ascetic in order to meditate on life’s vicissitudes, eventually attaining Great Enlightenment.

The album’s title Tathāgata comes from the Sanskrit term which can mean either "one who has thus gone" or "one who has thus come." One who has thus gone leaves no place unvisited; and because one who has thus come is always present, one need not turn to go anywhere. The album displays a smorgasbord of musical languages from different cultural and religious backgrounds, which converge to tell the universal story of humankind being raised to a higher state in its endless pursuit of spirituality and divinity.

Through his music, He Xuntian expounds on the Oneness of humanity, and not just the morality of religions. There is a world in every flower and a Buddha in every leaf. All forms of life coexist under the same skies, and each breath of life exhibits the beauty of fluidity and stillness. Thus, beginnings and endings do not differ. And the path to enlightenment taken by Siddhartha is also the path that all must take. Regardless of life’s form or the realm in which it exists, all must strive to elevate the level of their spirituality. He Xuntian endeavors to follow the footprints on this path.

The Heaven Outside of Heaven

The prelude “The Heaven outside of Heaven” portrays the immense universe we inhabit. According to He Xuntian, “All things come from the same root.” Therefore, the long tunes of the Arabs, the hymns of the West, and the Oriental chanting of Buddhist verses are featured equally. These three distinct vocal types are blended in the singing of the same lyrics, further highlighting the fundamental sameness of everything under the skies.


The Supreme Buddha Siddhartha left his Gautama Palace to pursue enlightenment. When one chooses to renounce the world, there is always a Gautama Palace he or she leaves behind. The voice of Sa Ding-ding, the winner of the 2008 BBC Radio 3 World Music Award for the Asia-Pacific Region, portrays the singing, dancing, and merry-making of a peaceful world in the beautiful jungle. Tathāgata, "thus come in truth, and thus gone in truth," tells of a moment when one enjoys being ignorant of the future.


Can we believe what the eye sees? Can we believe what the ear hears? Is there another world, apart from our own? It is when the search for meaning from within no longer crosses paths with the noisy world outside that the mind finally approaches stillness in meditation.

The Heart of the Void

Where do falling stars land? Leaving home, you come to a place where you witness life, death, illness, and sorrow, where endless tears are in stark contrast to constant songs. You finally realize that falling stars land in places where there is both laughter and weeping. Comfort in the past is not true comfort, and sorrows in the past are not true sorrows. The wheel of fortune still turns, but there are also singing angels giving hope of salvation, warming the heart of the void.

The Realm of Forms:

This is the false Paradise, a mechanical lifestyle where order is in disorder, disharmony is in harmony, and where there is huge desire and deep involvement in material pursuits. Employing the traditional Chinese steel-stringed zheng, He Xuntian successfully calls to mind the mechanical aspect of human lives, which is in contrast to the state of the “Tathāgata .”

The Wind in the Trees

The light breeze feels comfortable. Beside the Nairanjana River and under the bodhi tree, the saint is meditating, contemplating the meaning of life. The temperature is just right. There is wind in the trees.

The Dance of the Four Corners

Suffering is the inevitable destiny of human beings! Violent percussion sounds the warning of violent storms. Devils swirl, while nature seems to have been split and torn. Are there any omens of what is to come?

Thus Come; Thus Gone

“There is wisdom in every petal of the blooming yellow flowers.
Truth is embodied in every stalk of the green bamboo trees.
My heart is as clean as the clear moon.
Not a speck is seen in the vast skies.”

The river has been finally crossed.
The saint has transcended all pains, joy, life and death.
Everything has returned to nothing, returned to the skies, or to the origin of all things.
Things have gone back to what they were.
But no traces can be found.

The music of “Thus Come; Thus Gone” leads us back to the inception of spirituality through the ethereal singing of Zhu Zheqin.



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