Left to Right: Brian Godchaux, Josh Michaell, Rev. Heng Sure, Paul Hostetter, Robin Petrie, Alan Senauke, Henry Kaiser

The name of this album is Paramita: American Buddhist Folk Songs. Paramita means “crossing over.” When we move from here to there, from suffering to suffering’s end, from confusion to awakening, it is “paramita”-- we cross over. One of the primary means of crossing over in the Buddhist world, from the earliest times, was music. Buddhist music surrounds our ears in Asia: in Thailand we hear monks’ voices chanting scriptures; in Chinese monasteries the sound of “wooden fish” drums send praises of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha into the air; in Tibet, lamas intone deep mantra sounds while turning mala beads and prayer wheels and sounding brass horns. And in every Buddhist culture, since the Buddha’s time 2500 years ago, Buddhist songs have brought peace and insight to people’s hearts.

Now in the West, the chanting of scriptures, Buddhas’ names, and mantras is finding a new home and new musical expressions. Folk songs have always provided us a conveyance for sharing human experience; it is especially gratifying to share the timeless wisdom of Buddhist principles in a traditional Western musical setting. Their topics are both timeless and contemporary, and their treatment is distinctly rooted in the Western folk idiom.

We offer these fifteen songs to the Triple Jewel and to listeners East and West.
May all beings gain liberation from suffering and bring forth the Great Resolve for Awakening.

30 Second demo clips


Songs and Notes

Chan Master Hsuan Hua (1916 - 1995)

The late Chan Master Hsuan Hua said to Rev. Heng Sure, “When you speak Dharma you have to accord with peoples’ potentials. This is America, not China. Here you must use whatever skills you have to explain true principles. Don’t just imitate me or you’ll be out of touch with your own culture and time. Use your own wisdom and do whatever works to inspire people to make the resolve for Bodhi!

Playing guitar could be a useful skill for a monk in America if you use it to help people bring forth faith in their potential for wisdom and awakening. Try your best!”

Ageless Wisdom, American Music



1. Craving Is the Builder of This House (3:10)
2. Yashodara (4:44)
3. Cause & Effect, or Here Comes Karma Now (4:11)
4. Turn, Return and Turn Again (3:06)
5. Another One Done Gone (3:11)
6. American Beef Cow (3:36)
7. Death Parade (1:34)
8. Ballad of Earth Store (5:08)
9. VegSource Mantra (I Have Enough) (1:45)
10. What Ya Gonna Do? (4:37)
11. When You Wake Up (4:03)
12. It's Called the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas (3:51)
13. Weapons of Earth (3:52)
14. Samadhi Shoes (4:04)
15. Dedication of Merit (2:38)

Album liner notes and lyrics in PDF format


Rev. Heng Sure
Vocals: (Tracks 1-15)
1998 Alberico OM cutaway guitar (Tracks 2, 4, 10, 14)
1995 Taylor LKSM 12-string guitar (Tracks 9, 12, 15)
Henry Kaiser’s 1898 Howe-Orme high-strung parlor guitar (Track 1)

Josh Michaell
Gourd Banjo (Track 5)
Santa Cruz H13 walnut guitar (Tracks 8, 13)
Vocals (Tracks 4, 5, 7)

Paul Hostetter
Taylor LKSM 12 string guitar (Tracks 3, 6, 11)
1920 Gibson A-4 mandolin (Track 8)

Robin Petrie
Hammered Dulcimer (Tracks 11, 13, 8)

Alan Senauke
1977 Martin OM-18 guitar (Track 2, 9, 10)
1971 Givens mandolin (Track 3)
Vocals (Tracks 4, 5, 7, 13)

Brian Godchaux
Violin (Tracks 2, 5, 6, 13, 14)
Vocals (Tracks 4, 5, 7)

For more information, please meditate.  🙂