The chief monk

1 montage + 4 audio

Venerable Walatara Sobhita Nayaka Thero remembers when Buddhist songs were sung by Muslim singers, and explains why appreciating music and being a monk are not mutually exclusive. Photography by Kannan Arunasalam and Menika van der Poorten.

Join the discussion: 4 comments

  • Kannan Arunasalam says:

    It’s not everyday that you find something in common with a devout monk in his seventies. After our initial interview talking about Buddhism and meditation – the serious stuff – the monk took us on a tour of his beautiful temple in the village of Galwadugoda.  

    When we reached the end of our tour and arrived at his office, I saw an old record player by his desk. I was curious. Having collected vinyl records myself (the kind with repetitive beats), I really wanted to know if he enjoyed listening to music and whether he still had any of his records. I was amazed to hear about his love for music and the old singers from the past. The monk became childlike, as we took it in turns to play records and listen to the first few verses of old Buddhist songs, sung by Muslim artists. 

    For a few moments conversations about music and vintage vinyl drew us close. I wanted the connection we had to continue, but the monk, calmly and serenely, detached himself and returned to being a monk.

    Reply
  • Coconut De Saram says:

    What a beautiful project!
    Thanks to everyone involved.
    Great portraits and the silent true stories that need to be heard.

    Reply
  • Helga De Silva Perera says:

    THANK YOU, for ALL…Very humbling…Looking forward for MORE…

    Reply
  • Java Jones says:

    With priests like this maybe there’s still some hope for the Sangha!

    Reply

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