Bhikkhu Khantipalo and Danno Budunge

This fascinated me because I don’t associate Buddhism with indulging emotions or song and music.


Bhikkhu Khantipo who wrote “Lay Buddhist Practice” [] liked to to sing this song in his last days…

Behold in this mansion-like town
Many monks adhering to the precepts
Destroying their defilements
And abiding by Buddha’s dharma teachings

Like heaven on earth!
The shade of the many monks
Who travel by air
Destroy hot sun rays

I see flocks of ducks wading
In deep ponds, where stems of
Lotus and lily flowers
Rise to the top

Nanda Malani Danno Budunge - YouTube

Research: Deep background in buddhist song

It’s probably important to note that Bhikkhu Khantipalo (not Khantipo btw) disrobed many years before his last days.

There is a strong tradition of Buddhist devotional music in Sri Lanka.

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Yes, it’s called Bhakthi Gee. You can see lots of it on youtube. The same term is used for Hindu devotional songs, so you just need to be looking for titles in Sinhala, the word “budu” or “bodu”, “vesak”, etc.

I can only assume that Myanmar and Thailand have their own culture of Buddhist songs. But this is not something often shown to English speaking folks. Edit: I’d also say that these Buddhist songs are not about “indulging emotions” but rather expressing faith and love for the Triple Gem.

BTW, there is also DN 21 Sakkapañha that has a song sung to the Buddha.

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You can find a great English-language introduction to the Cambodian Dharma song tradition here:

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That’s really great. It has the songs translated into English and sung in the Cambodian style. I’ve never heard anyone do that.

Also, I’ll mention that in Sri Lanka there is a tradition of Buddhist poetry, kavi, which when recited will also sound like songs. However it is a distinct thing and quite a bit older than the bhakthi gee, as I understand. Bhakthi gee are (to my knowledge) never performed by monastics. However kavi recitation is quite common.

It’s also interesting to note that the bhakthi gee I am familiar with are written in a very elevated/literary style of Sinhala to the point that many Sinhala speakers might not understand the exact meaning word for word.


Indeed! Very special. It took him years of studying with the master reciters in Cambodia to get to that point.