This Fleeting World
2004 • 18 minutes • Mezzo soprano and two celli
(Sanskrit text from the Diamond Sutra)
The text for 'This Fleeting World' is drawn from one of the most important texts in Buddhism. The Diamond Sutra is essentially about the illusory nature of the world. Buddhists consider everything to be illusory - defined as much by what is absent as by what is present, in this way making something "real" only relative to the way it is perceived. (Similar sentiments have been expressed by physicists of the last century.) The four line gatha (stanza) used for this piece is taken from near the very end or the Diamond Sutra:
As a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream,
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp, a phantom and a dream.
Thus shall you think of this fleeting world.
(translation adapted from Thich Nhat Hanh)
'This Fleeting World' was commissioned by Winnipeg's Groundswell through the assistance of the Canada Council.