Archive for Personal Stories

The Swift Achiever is here! Sacred Tibetan chants

// October 23rd, 2013 // No Comments » // Music, News, Personal Stories, Photos, video

JLB_2945Boy Jigme in route to monestary









The long awaited CD of Lama Jigme Tenzin has officially dropped.   A chant master and long time Buddhist from Bhutan, Lama Jigme has performed original renditions of sacred Tibetan chants.  He asked my wife Julie and I to produce a modern album that would help people realize the depth inherent in these works, and also to give some danceable beats to a few of the chants.   The album is accompanied by two videos, Swift Achiever and Blessings Like Rain.

Kalu Rinpoche 2


Lama Jigme is a long time disciple of H.E. Kalu Rinpoche, (1905 – May 10, 1989).  He was a Buddhist monk, meditation master, scholar and teacher. He was one of the first Tibetan masters to teach in the West.  The complete album, “Dragon Voice”,  is a new take on Sacred Buddhist Chants.



The process was an interesting one for me, to say the least.  Lama Jigme would sing a free time improvisational rendition and then gave me complete freedom to do whatever I wanted.  It was Stravinsky who spoke of ‘the abyss of freedom,’ and I now have some idea what he was speaking about.   I’m not a Stravinsky – After considering a range of options, I did gravitate to the use of modular and classic polyphonic synthesizers and the modern studio effects that can enhance – or foul up –  any recording.  photo 1



I wanted the listener to be able to  submerge themselves in the sound.  These chants can be very relaxing and sometimes rather intense, dealing as they do with spiritual entities and planes of consciousness that encompass the full spectrum of existence.JLB_0369




It is our wish that this music will serve to bring some small measure of peace and harmony to any and all beings who hear it.

A New Take on Sacred Buddhist Chants

// September 3rd, 2013 // No Comments » // Music, Personal Stories, video


Lama Jigme Tensin, disciple of H.E. his eminence Kalu Rinpoche

Lama Jigme Tenzin, disciple of H.E. Kalu Rinpoche

“Blessings Like Rain” is the first music/video collaboration between Lama Jigme Tenzin and Music House Productions with William Belote and Julie Lilly-Belote.  It is inspired by the deeply resonant singing of Lama Jigme as he chants sacred texts from his Tibetan Buddhist tradition.   The complete chants is found here.

Lama Jigme Tenzin, disciple of H.E.  Kalu Rinpoche is a renouned international Chant Master.  The complete album, “Dragon Voice”,  is a new take on Sacred Buddhist Chants.  It will be released within a month along with an uptempo collaboration entitled “Swift Achiever”.

Lama Jigme leads Buddhist prayer at a Los Angeles Temple.

// February 9th, 2013 // No Comments » // Blog, Music, News, Personal Stories, Photos, Uncategorized

Buddhist prayers at the beautiful and deeply spiritualized Temple of the Venerable Wangchen Rinpoche in Los Angeles, Ca.  Lama Jigme Tenzing, Lama Kelsang, Lama Chokyi, and others spent the day, 2/9/13, chanting and praying for peace and attunement.  It was an honor to join them in meditation.  This Temple belongs to the lineage of His Holiness Dorje Chang Kalu Rinpoche.  This particular ceremony was very small, intimate, and peacefully intense for those of us present.

The air was cool, but the atmosphere quite warm and alive as the repetitive chanting built a momentum that brought me within.  I’m not a great one for sitting on the floor, but today I was happy to forget the body, at least a little bit, in order to immerse myself in the sacred vibrational texts and sounds.  My wife Julie shot video for awhile and I did some recording on my wonderful little Sony PCM-D50 field recorder.  During a break in the chanting, we shared a delightful time of tea, light snacks, and joyful conversation with the Lamas and the local tribe of practitioners.  My own lineage, led by Paramahansa Yogananda, has been called the “Church of All Religions.”  It is always heartening to share in the ceremonies of others who truly have the vision of an inclusive world in mind.

Lama Jigme and I are nearing completion of our first CD together.  “Dragon Voice” will be a collection of 7 chants and Buddhist prayers mixing traditional and improvised interpretations with contemporary musical support.  “Blessings Like Rain” is the first chant which is accompanied by this video.  “Swift Achiever” is another chant that will soon have it’s own video.   More of my music can be heard here.

Jigme chant:drum

Crooks Ranch – Our hideout

// April 30th, 2012 // No Comments » // Blog, News, Personal Stories, Photos

The Oregon coast still has vast stretches of relatively unspoiled beauty.  May it ever be so.


This is very near the Pistol River area.  Wide open beaches like this, and lush pasture land inland.

Flying green beetles

// August 30th, 2011 // No Comments » // Blog, Personal Stories, Photos

I’ve always had a fondness for these beetles, really I have! Just because my only good pictures are of the dead or injured doesn’t mean I am not an admirer of them. They fly around as if inebriated – making big wide turns, bumping into things. Agile like a dragonfly or yellow jacket they are not, but they seem friendly enough and will sometimes land on or near you without any seeming concern.








This guy/girl? somehow lost a wing and was quite vulnerable to the many birds around our yard. Being bird food was probably the ultimate fate, but we gave him/her a few days of comfort in our mulberry tree, just misting him and keeping some company.  Projecting ourselves on the universe outside our brains as we do, we’d like to think he appreciated the attention for the few days we had together.

Grounded due to a missing wing!

down but not out!

From the train to Oregon

// July 17th, 2011 // No Comments » // Blog, News, Personal Stories, Photos, video

When we want to escape L.A., we are often drawn to the Oregon coast for its’ incredible beauty and opportunities for solitude.

This video is only of the view from the train up to Klamath Falls, OR. Much more from actually being there soon. It is accompanied by music from my first album “Mindsailing”. To my ears now, it has its’ cringe worthy moments, but the spirit is well intentioned. Kind of like me generally!

The truth is out there . . . also.

// June 9th, 2010 // No Comments » // Blog, Personal Stories, Photos

OK – let me tell you about “The Integratron”, a bit of science fiction come to life.  Built starting in the  late 40’s by George Van Tassel, an aviation scientist with stints at Hughes and Lockheed, the building/device  took 18 years to complete, and he passed away on the day it was to be tested.

Sitting on a mysterious geomagnetic vortex and originally designed as a healing device, it functions now as an incredible acoustic chamber where the sisters who now own it perform ‘sound baths’ for individuals and groups using crystal bowls to caress the purest tones I’ve ever heard outside of a synthesizer generated sine wave.   Located in Landers, CA., just north of the city of Joshua Tree in the high desert, the Integratron sits like a resting spacecraft from another civilization.    As it turns out, Van Tassel was a major UFO enthusiast.  He told of experiencing contact with aliens who inspired his work.  What I find undeniable is the beauty and intrigue of the Integratron itself and the hallucinatory experience of a sound bath.  Highly Recommended!

ASCAP Expo Rocks

// May 3rd, 2010 // No Comments » // Blog, Music, Personal Stories, Uncategorized

Four days of full immersion into the world of music, from concert music and jazz, to hip hop and country.  There was a tremendous tribal feeling among all participants, and the chance to hear from legends like Quincy Jones and Bill Withers was an honor and a treat.

I came away fulling buzzed and inspired.  I promptly wrote two songs and ordered a traveling guitar.  It literally folds in half, and when full erect (sorry) it sounds pretty amazing.

Why Einstein?

// March 20th, 2010 // No Comments » // Blog, Einstein, Personal Stories, Photos, Politics

If one were to choose a single person who advanced the evolution of the species, can you do much better than Albert Einstein?  He was intellectually advanced, obviously, but he was also a political progressive with strong pacifist tendencies, and a deeply philosophical and spiritually practical man.  “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”  In 1954, a year before his death, he spoke of wishing to “experience the universe as a single cosmic whole”.  The work of physicist David Bohm and his followers has been to illuminate the science behind this beautiful thought which echos from ages past in the ancient texts of the sages.

What impresses me perhaps most of all is the creativity with which he pursued his scientific quest.   His powers of visualization and intuition were the envy of any artist who ever lived.  He said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge”, and “Logic will get you from A to B, imagination will take you everywhere”.   He would ‘see’ a new level of reality in the multi-dimensional space of his mind, and then work very hard to describe the new reality in the language of mathematics.  Experimental proof would often take decades to manifest, but when it did, an unsurprised Einstein had already moved onto new challenges.

As revolutionary as his breakthroughs in science, his courageous humanitarian political stance points the way to a future without war, if we can only learn.  He was strongly considered a leading candidate to be Israel’s first President, though it was probably a romantic notion on the part of Israel’s new leaders.  It took the rise of Nazism to convince him that the world was not yet ready for the pure form of nonviolent philosophy he cherished.

At home in the library. I like the sweater!

At home in the library. I like the sweater!

Sequoia days

// August 16th, 2009 // No Comments » // Blog, Personal Stories, Photos

Hard to completely capture one!

Hard to completely capture one!

It had been many years since Julie and I had visited the Sequoia National Park.  The forests and vistas of high Sierra rock formations are stunning to behold.  The too brief trip gave us a small taste of the deep quiet that is to be found in unmolested nature, and it stimulated my appetite for more backpacking experiences, where one can really sit for a long time in the peace.  We stayed at the Stoney Creek Lodge just outside the Park; it did not earn our recommendation for return trips, but it served the basic necessities.

Looking towards the high Sierra

Looking towards the high Sierra

Sadly, pollution from the lower elevations robs this view of some of its’ clarity. Still, from this vantage point (part way up Moro Rock) there is much beauty to be seen. Climbing Moro Rock btw is a great semi strenuous little hike.