Ani Choying Drolma: A Singing Nun With a Mission

Ani Choying Drolma  SmileI am an admirer of Ani Choying Drolma, also known as Choying Drolma and Ani Choying.  She is a Buddhist nun and musician from the Nagi Gompa nunnery in Nepal. Throughout the world Ani Choying is known for her compassion, her lovely smile, and her beautiful voice.  Rather than just relying on prayer alone, she is using her voice to fund her school for Nepali orphans.

Opening the Door to the Heart

Choying grew up amongst Tibetan exiles in Nepal. She was subjected to frequent beatings by her father who was consumed with anger, fueled by alcohol. She also witnessed first hand the beatings and verbal abuse dished out to her long-suffering mother, which made her reluctant to marry. At the age of 13 Ani has a realisation that she can take refuge from brutality be becoming a Buddhist nun. — Offering Refuge 

Suffering is the result of ignorance

The fundamental philosophical principle of Buddhism is that all our suffering comes about as a result of an undisciplined mind, and this untamed mind itself comes about because of ignorance and negative emotions. The everyday practice of Dzogchen is to develop a complete carefree acceptance and compassion, an openness to all situations without limits.

The qualities of an enlightened buddha are not his qualities; they are the qualities of the buddha nature fully manifest. We also possess that same potential, but it is hidden, lying dormant. — Tulku Urgyen

To cut through ego fixation, the root of Samsara (the eternal cycle of birth, suffering, death, and rebirth), the skillful means employed is the unmeasurable Bodhicitta (compassion aimed to, on the one hand, bring happiness to all sentient beings, and on the other, to relieve them of suffering).


Like many children in families where domestic violence prevails, Ani Choying became an angry young person.  However, through her entry into the Buddhist  monastery at the tender age of thirteen,  she began to learn how to train her mind to deal with anger, and eventually how to improve her family’s situation through raising Bodichitta.

Compassion without attachment is possible. True compassion is not just an emotional response but a firm commitment founded on reason. Therefore, a truly compassionate attitude towards others does not change even if they behave negatively. Genuine compassion is based not on our own projections and expectations, but rather on the needs of the other. — The Dalai Lama in The Compassionate Life

Nepal’s “Singing Nun” International Hit

Taming the Mind

I relate to Ani Choying in three ways I will share with you.  I too was a very angry young person, raised in an ostensibly Christian family where domestic violence was the order of the day. Finding my path meant I too became a parent to my parents. I am the eldest child and like Ani, I took refuge. Unlike her I didn’t do that until the end of my teen years and I didn’t enter a monastery.  Finding my path was taking responsibility for my thoughts, words and actions.  I gradually overcame my anger, developing patience.  Through raising bodhicitta and mind training I eventually became strong enough to become a parent to my own parents. Like Ani, I love to smile. Smiling can help you change your own attitude and can also be received as a gift by others during times of stress. Not every smile is authentic — only a smile recognized as being genuine makes other people smile. Yet, despite painful circumstances, when compassion conveyed by a single gentle smile it can provoke a  chain reaction response. Like Ani, I love to sing. Chanting opens the door to deep meditation for me and I adore Ani Choying Drolma’s voice. The simplicity and sincerity of the lyrics articulating underlying Buddhist tenets in both the traditional chants and  music she sings touches my heart and gently opens it.  Her music is so rich with compassion that I summon Bodichitta by chanting along with her.

Muskan (Smile) with Ani Choying Drolma

Lyrics: Durga Lal Shrestha Music: Nhyoo Bajracharya

Without doubt compassion is our Buddha seed or true nature, our potential to become a Buddha, and it is because all living beings possess this seed of self acceptance and compassion that they will all eventually become Buddhas. — Awakening: We are Buddha Seed

Related posts: Om Mani Padme Hum The Power of the Smile


  1. What an inspiring moment to open your blog and find one of my favorite singers. I love Choying. I have her CD she did with Steve Tibbets entitled Selwa. I will spend tomorrow checking out this post and more.. another singer, I am sure you are familiar with is Dechen Shak-Dagsay. Both are great teachers as well. I want to thank you for the like on my blog. Check out my spirituality and meditation tags. I think you may like my more meditative pieces. I will subscribe to your blog as well.

    • Hi there,
      I have been enjoying my visits to your blog. It’s wonderful to note that we have common ground. Yes I have heard Selwa. That version of the Gayatri mantra does not appeal to me as much as many other versions of the chant. I have not heard of Dechen Shak-Dagsay. Thanks for sharing here name so I can explore her music.

  2. My friend Kathy at Pocket Perspectives shared this with me today. I’ve been struggling with some things this week and can’t begin to express how blessed I was by watching and listening to this video. Her beautiful smile, her gentleness even as she walks upon the earth, moved through me like a healing balm. Namaste.

    • Hello there,
      Kathy is an inspiring blogger with a unique blog and a heart of gold. I’m so sorry to hear you were having a bad week. But I’m delighted to hear you your were blessed by listening to Ani Choying’s music and learning a little about her work. I hope your upcoming week will be a good one.

  3. oh, this is so beautiful..I’ve listened to it again and again…so special. The tone of how she sings, the sounds, the motion, the gentleness, the flow, the tenderness….that’s how I’d like to live the rest of this life…with that sense and that offering…. if I could approach living with those, it would be such an appreciated blessing. thank you for sharing this.

  4. Very inspiring. She’s using her voice to inspire so many people and help orphan children. Ani’s using her voice to serve in so many ways. Thanks for sharing her story.

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