The Dalai Lama is releasing an album, Inner World, on July 6 which is also the Tibetan spiritual leader's 85th birthday. The album is a collection of chants and mantras, set to music for the first time. The project came about when Junelle Kunin, a New Zealand practicing Buddhist, realized no album like this existed, and managed to get a meeting with the Dalai Lama about it. He agreed. "I’d never heard him speak like this,” Kunin told the Associated Press. “He really was so excited … he actually proceeded to explain to me how important music is. He leaned forward and his eyes were sparkling, and his fingers were rubbing together and he [talked] about how music can help people in a way that he can’t; it can transcend differences and return us to our true nature and our good heartedness.”

The album was made with Kunin's husband, Abraham, who is a producer and composer, over the last five years and features contributions from sitar player Anoushka Shankar (daughter of Ravi Shankar). "The entire purpose of this project is to try to help people. It’s not a Buddhist project, it’s to help everyday people like myself, even though I am Buddhist,” Kunin told The AP. “The messages couldn’t be more poignant for our current social climate and needs as humanity.”

Net proceeds the album will benefit Mind & Life Institute as well as Social, Emotional and Ethical Learning (SEE Learning), a program developed by Emory University and the Dalai Lama.

You can listen to "Compassion" from Inner World below.

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