Songs of an Ancient Truth (3 track preview)

by Bran

All experience is preceded by mind Led by mind, shaped by mind Speak or act with a corrupted mind And suffering follows like the wagon wheel follows The hoof of the ox All experience is preceded by mind led by mind, shaped by mind Speak or act with a peaceful mind And happiness follows like a never-departing shadow They cheated me, they defeated me The robbed me Go on thinking in such a way And hate will never end Go on thinking in a different way And hate will end Hate never ends by hate By love alone does it end This is an ancient truth Many of us do not realize That here we must die For those who do realize All quarrels end Those who live just for pleasant things Mind unguarded, immoderate, and idle Will be overcome by temptations A tree too weak in the wind Those who live not for pleasant things Mind guarded and moderate, vigilant Will not be overcome by temptations A mountain in the wind Those who wish to wear the saffron robes And yet they have no self-control They are not free Those who wish to wear the saffron robes Have embraced the truth and self-control They are free Those who see the truth as false Those who see the real as unreal Will never know the truth in their hearts Will never be free But those who realize the truth Those who see the real as real Will always know the truth in their hearts And they shall be free Just like rain on a leaky roof Desire floods the mind Make your home weatherproof Keep a well trained mind One who makes unskillful choices Will suffer both in this life and beyond We will see the consequence of our actions If we choose to do wrong One who lives skillfully Will be joyful in this life and the next We shall live delightfully If we do our best Read as many verses as you’d like But if you do not heed those same words You might as well be counting cattle In someone else’s herd Read as little of the verses as you’d like As long as you live skillfully Let go of desire, fear, attachment You shall be free
Diligence is the path to Deathlessness Negligence leads to death The diligent never die The negligent are already dead The wise, having known Dilgence Rejoice in the Noble Ones The wise, meditating And striving on, Touch Nibbana Freedom from toil Those who are energetic Mindful and pure Discerning and self-controlled and diligent Glory grows The wise Make an island Which no flood Can overtake The foolish and ignorant Indulge in negligence But the wise keep Diligence as a treasure Do not give in To negligence Do not indulge in sense pleasures Only the diligent Attain happiness Just like on the mountaintop Looking below The wise one, casting off Negligence With Diligence, ascends The tower of wisdom This sorrowless sage Sees the sorrowing below The wise among the negligent Awake among those who sleep Advances forward like horse Leaving behind the weak The greatest of the gods Ascended with diligence The greatest of the gods Rejects Negligence The renunciate who delights In diligence And turns their back upon negligence Roars like a fire, burning away All of the fetters The subtle and the clear There is no going back Nirvana’s drawing near!
A restless mind Hard to control The wise one makes As straight as an arrow Like a fish out of water Wriggles and thrashes The mind won’t sit still Trying to escape from temptation The mind jumps about Landing where it wishes Taming the mind Brings happiness The mind, hard to see Goes where it wishes The wise one protects Brings happiness Traveling far The mind, hidden and solitary The wise one does well to subdue it And they shall be free The mind that is not steadfast, Who knows not the Dharma Whose serenity wavers Wisdom does not grow There is no fear For an awakened one No desire or hate, Or gain or loss can affect the mind This body is like a fragile clay pot Wield the sword of wisdom Against temptation’s hoards Remaining unattached Protect what has been won Soon this body will lie on the ground Cast aside and lifeless Like a log Whatever harm An enemy does to an enemy Far worse is an Ill directed mind Whatever good A dear one delivers Comes nowhere near A well-trained mind


The Dhammapada is a Buddhist collections of verses and sayings of the Buddha. This project of putting the entirety of the Dhammapada to song stemmed from the first two verses, as they are favorites of mine. I had played around with putting the two first verses to music, and was satisfied with what I had done. But something told me “What about the rest?” So, perhaps against my better judgement, I have embarked on a journey to put the entire Dhammapada to song.

The title is inspired by one of the verse of in the first chapter that reads “Hatred never ceases by hatred; by non-hatred alone does it end. This is an ancient truth.” What better way to sum up Buddhist teaching than “An Ancient Truth”?

As of writing this, I have completely recorded the first three chapters, as well as in progress on the fourth and waiting to record the fifth.
There are 29 chapters total...
But I wanted to share with you a little piece of the progress. These chapters-as-songs are epic in length and in subject (as evidenced by the very first chapter, hovering somewhere around 11 minutes), so this project will take a long time to complete.

I hope you enjoy what I have done so far.


released May 7, 2020


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Bran Kansas City, Kansas

Bran crafts his unique, down-to-earth folk songs that tell stories that are fun, inspiring, insightful, and ofttimes humorous.

From heart-felt songs of world peace, to earthy tunes of Nature; from epic myths and stories, there’s sure to be something in Bran’s music for any groovy, tree-huggin’, peace-lovin’ soul!
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