Siddhartha-Introduction-300x120 The “Journey of Siddhartha”, dedicated to my son Philip, is a very free translation (really “transcreation”) of the wonderful but too little known poem on the Life of the Buddha

Read more: Introduction


Part Two - The Beginning

sid-2-300x120Suddhodana, I dreampt, and I was lying on my left side,
Tired from our long midsummer festival.
I had sent soldiers with jars for water

Read more: Part Two - The Beginning


Part Three - Reality

sid3-300x120But shall he leave his people, in my age
Let me fall heirless, from my throne?
Shall he be nameless on the final page

Read more: Part Three - Reality


Part Four - The Going-Forth


Then through the whole town the king’s proclamation
was heard in the ringing of bells:
That on the seventh day, the glorious prince, with his retinue,

Read more: Part Four - The Going-Forth

The Journey of Siddhartha

by Walter M. Spink

Recorded July 2014 at Solid Sound Studio, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Walter Spink: narrative | Marcus Wise: tabla | Bruce Hamm: sarod

The Journey of Siddhartha, written with the encouragement of Archibald Macleish when I was a graduate student studying Indian Art History at Harvard 1950-1952, owes much to the remarkable Buddhacarita, (the story of the Buddha) of the 1st-2nd century poet Asvaghosa, beautifully translated by E. H. Johnson (1928). I have drawn freely upon Asvaghosa'a exuberant use of imagery, fusing the dramatic elements of that great writer's story with the eternal concerns of love and time and death similarly embedded in the psyche of a twenty-four-year-old starting off on the same journey.

The idea of putting Asvaghosa's beautiful (even if transformed) poem to the music of appropriate Indian instruments came from my two well-known musician friends, Marcus Wise (tabla) and Bruce Hamm (sarod). Both have studied and performed widely in concerts and recordings in the USA and India.

The Journey of Siddhartha

The Conception of Prince Siddhartha | 01

Queen Mahamaya in the Garden | 02

The Lotus Flowering | 03

The Amazement of King Suddhodana | 04

Occurrences at the name Ceremony: The Prophecy | 05

What the Seer Said | 06

The King's Perturbation | 07

The King's Decision | 08

The Times of Joy | 09

The Maidens Who Attend the Prince | 10

Prison of Joy | 11

The Charioteer Report on the Prince's Restlessness | 12

The Command of the King | 13

The Procession to the Garden | 14

The Appearance of the Predestined Signs - What the Air Said | 15

The Prince Faces Reality - The Charioteer Explains | 16

Arrival in the Garden - The King's Messenger Admonishes the Women | 17

The Women Shamed - Excursion in the Garden | 18

Siddhartha's Response - The King's Messenger Reproaches the Prince| 19

The Prince's Reply | 20

The Enigma of Existence | 21

The Meditation of the Prince | 22

Sestina: Departure | 23

The Chain of Existence | 24