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The popular Christmas song “The First Noel” has been reworked using Buddhist lyrics.

The First Nidana,” is a poetic rendition of the casual links explained in the Buddhist teachings on Interdependent Origination or Paticcasamuppada. In the Buddhist teachings, there are twelve Nidanas or casual links which describe the circular process of an unsatisfactory ego based, selfish life. The Paticcasamuppada is one of the foundational teachings of Buddhism that holds wisdom, that is relevant to Buddhists, Christians, other faiths, even agnostic, gnostic or atheist. This song is a rendition of “The First Noel,” a song sung mostly by Christians.

The First Nidana

The First Nidana

“The First Nidana” is the first song on a Christmas music album for Buddhists, Carol of the (Dharma) Bells, created by Ryan C. Hunt. The song is in English with a few Sanskrit words and it is intended to be enjoyed by listeners of all ages, while parents can use it as a tool to familiarize their children with Buddhist classical teachings. To fully understand the Paticcasamuppada, one should study the original Sanskrit or get a qualified teacher who can explain the links. Nidana is a Sanskrit word meaning basic cause.

Ryan was born in America but currently lives in Hong Kong. He was raised as a Christian, but has practiced Buddhism for over 20 years, and he says his life is filled with many bridges of juxtaposing perspectives. The First Noel, is one of his favorite Christmas carols as it depicts the birth of the Savior Jesus Christ, who is the manifestation of the guiding star, the arrival of the three wise men from the East and subsequent adoration and worship of the child.

Carol of the Dharma Bells

Carol of the Dharma Bells

The inspiration to write Buddhist Christmas songs came in December 2015 as he was making breakfast for his family. He wrote the song Rudolph the Bodhisattva, using the tune of the song Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. From this, he was inspired to write songs based on Christmas carols, but all flavored in Buddhist ideas and thoughts. Ryan has written 17 songs, and his inspiration is to create a cultural and spiritual bridge between traditional Christian music with Buddhist lyrics. He hopes this could be a way for Christians to understand Buddhist thoughts and spirituality a little better and for Buddhists, especially those raised in a Christian or western background will enjoy Christmas in a Buddhist way.

“The First Nidana” is now available for download at carolofthedharmabells.com, iTunes and CD Baby. Pre-order Carol of the (Dharma) Bell here.

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