Voices II

Contemplation on Purity

for hichiriki and piano

When my wife and I were taking a walk for leisure in Ukyō-ku, Kyoto, Japan, we stumbled upon this beautiful Buddhist temple named Seiryō-ji 清凉寺. The name struck me at once, for there is a Buddhist temple in my hometown, Changzhou 常州, with exactly the same name. 清凉, pronounced as “seiryō” in Japanese and “qīngliáng” in Mandarin Chinese, probably referred to the sensation of feeling cool or refreshed originally, but here in a Buddhist context probably referred more to the state of being that is free from desires, hence the translation “purity” in the title.

When my wife and I were taking a walk for leisure in Ukyō-ku, Kyoto, Japan, we stumbled upon this beautiful Buddhist temple named Seiryō-ji 清凉寺. The name struck me at once, for there is a Buddhist temple in my hometown, Changzhou 常州, with exactly the same name. 清凉, pronounced as “seiryō” in Japanese and “qīngliáng” in Mandarin Chinese, probably referred to the sensation of feeling cool or refreshed originally, but here in a Buddhist context probably referred more to the state of being that is free from desires, hence the translation “purity” in the title.

Premiered by Thomas Piercy on hichiriki and Chen Yihan on piano on Sep 22, 2017 in New York.

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