You’re down with meditation. You can spend hours with your legs crossed tailor-fashion. But the chanting is getting to you. How often can you say, “Ohm” without losing your focus or embarrassing yourself with your caterwauling?
For those whose voices should never be raised in anything like song, or for the merely forgetful and inattentive, meet the Buddha Machine. Introduced last year by Christiann Virant and Zhang Jian—who also composed the music played by this Americanized version of the electronic prayer boxes of China—the plastic Solar Buddha Machine plays various ambient music loops that will help you focus on your navel (or any other mystical point on your body).
Made of plastic, and having been reborn three times, most recently as the Buddha 3 (FM3, or Chan Fang), the machine has improved audio and four lengthy loops of classical Chinese music composed and recorded on the ancient Gu Qin, or Chinese zither. Other versions or reincarnations also feature special-edition music, like the Gristleism, from the late ‘70s English industrial avant-garde music group Throbbing Gristle.
Unfortunately, after a year of what we can only assume was devoted to reflecting on the universe, the Solar Buddha Machine still lacked its solar component. So the folks over at Voltaic went the final step to rig their mantra machine to operate off a mini-solar panel, with NiMH (nickel-metal hydride) batteries to insure the music doesn’t quit when your mind reaches Nirvana. Unfortunately, the how-to is much too extensive to reproduce here. Suffice to say you will need batteries, a 1.3-watt, 10-volt solar panel, soldering tools, a screwdriver and a more than passing understanding of electronic technology in the 21st Century. Or you can simply follow instructions to create your very own Solar Buddha to chant for you. Ohm!