The Dalai Lama made a bid for music chart stardom on Monday, his 85th birthday, with the release of an album of mantras and teachings.
â€œInner Worldâ€ kicks off with the track â€œOne Of My Favourite Prayersâ€ and continues with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader reciting meditations and sayings with accompanying music.
The record came about when musician Junelle Kunin, a student of the Dalai Lama from New Zealand, contacted him in 2015 with the idea – and much to her surprise he said yes.
â€œI thought Iâ€™d have to try and convince him,â€ she told Reuters in an interview from her home in Auckland.
â€œThat moment of recording him, my goodness I was shaking like a leaf before I went in there,â€ she said.
Kunin did the initial recordings at the Dalai Lamaâ€™s residence in Dharamsala in India.
Once back home, she worked with her husband Abraham and other musicians to produce music for the tracks.
â€œItâ€™s an incredible honour. But it was unbelievably, daunting like the trust and responsibility. Itâ€™s immense,â€ Abraham Kunin said.
On a promotional video for the album, when asked why he had agreed to take part, the Dalai Lama answers: â€œThe very purpose of my life is to serve as much as I can.â€
The release comes five years after Patti Smith led the crowd at Britainâ€™s Glastonbury Festival singing Happy Birthday to him for his 80th.