by brother initiate Richard Stewart, Los Angeles, California, USA (originally in English)

World-renowned nineteenth-century composer Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) is one of the most original creative spirits in musical history. His compositional style shows little influence from the work of other composers, and in fact, many of his pieces, such as the polonaises and ballades, define new genres all their own. As one modern critic writes, “In the structure and form of his compositions, he is quite alone; his sense of balance and architecture seemed to spring from some unknown well-source.” Thus Chopin’s inspiration appears to have come directly from enlightened contacts with Heaven, the “unknown well-source,” and not from the examples of his predecessors or peers. This view is affirmed by his friend, the Hungarian composer Franz Liszt:

So works this music upon Earth;
God so admits it, sends it forth
To add another worth to worth.


A new creation-bloom that rounds
The old creation, and expounds
His Beautiful in tuneful sounds.
~~ Excerpt from the Preface to Liszt’s Life of Chopin


Chopin was born in Warsaw into the affluent home of a French father and a Polish mother of noble lineage. From early childhood, he loved piano music and began taking piano lessons at the age of six. He started to compose even before he knew how to write down his inspirations, and his musical talent soon became obvious, being compared with the childhood genius of Mozart. His first published piece appeared when he was fifteen, and by the time he was seventeen, Chopin was recognized as the leading pianist of Warsaw and a gifted composer.

Due to political upheavals in Poland, however, at age twenty he moved to Paris, the center of the Romantic Movement in the arts, and except for occasional trips abroad, spent the rest of his life in France. Being introverted by nature, Chopin avoided giving public concerts, but instead played for groups of friends and made a living from piano teaching and the sale of his works.



“If this beautiful but elusive quality is not of humankind, but of God, then this is Chopin’s highest gift to us. In summary, Chopin got as close as any composer to expressing the nature of the inner worlds of sound and experience.”    

 ~~ by a modern critic


Chopin wrote almost exclusively for the piano, making the instrument “sing” in a way that no previous composer had conceived, and so earned the epithet “Poet of the Piano.” His sense of lyricism and melodic genius gave rise to some of the most beautiful music ever written, and his piano works are the most frequently played in history. He is one of the few universal masters, and his popularity has never waned. Nearly everything he wrote is in the permanent repertoire and his compositions are known around the globe. The great twentieth-century American pianist Arthur Rubinstein confirmed, “When the first notes of Chopin sound through the concert hall, there is a happy sign of recognition. All over the world men and women know his music. They love it; they are moved by it. It is uniquely expressive and personal art.” Besides being heard regularly in concerts and recordings, Chopin’s works are used for the famous ballet Les Sylphides, and are heard in countless films such as The Pianist, Shine and The Truman Show.

Chopin’s widespread appeal no doubt lies in his ability to evoke memories of the celestial music, the sounds of the inner worlds that were his source of creative inspiration. This capacity is like that of his great role model Johann Sebastian Bach, who believed that his works were not of his own making but arose from and glorified God. Such true musical geniuses transcend the desire to simply describe the human experience through music and ultimately approach God Hirmself. As another critic states, “If this beautiful but elusive quality is not of humankind, but of God, then this is Chopin’s highest gift to us. In summary, Chopin got as close as any composer to expressing the nature of the inner worlds of sound and experience.”

Thus, Chopin’s sensitive, mystical nature and attunement to the Heavenly sounds are the keys to his limitless gifts as a composer and performer. The nineteenth-century pianist Anton Rubinstein called him, “the Piano Bard, the Piano Rhapsodist, the Piano Mind and the Piano Soul” and added, “Whether the spirit of the instrument breathed upon him I do not know, but all possible expressions are found in his compositions, and all are sung by him upon this instrument.”

Chopin’s wide range of expression is shown, for example, in his Op. 34, No. 2 Valse Brillante, which addresses the human spirit in an intimate way reflecting the beauty of the higher music — the “Heavenly Melodious Teaching,” to use Supreme Master Ching Hai’s term. In fact, many pianists and scholars have described Chopin’s waltzes as “dances for the soul” expressing profound spiritual reflection — musical love poems to God and humanity that reveal the composer’s elevated moods, moments of inner longing and strong humanistic feelings. Le Ménestral (‘The Minstrel’), a journal of Chopin’s time, wrote: “[He is] the sylph of the piano, attached to this mortal world by the merest touch of a finger and nourished by dreams from on high. Listen to Chopin play! It is like the sighing of a flower, the whisper of clouds or the murmur of the stars.”

It was also his ready familiarity with the higher realms that allowed Chopin to compose naturally and spontaneously, as his companion, the novelist Aurore Dudevant (who wrote under the pen name George Sand), eloquently remarks: “His creation was spontaneous, miraculous. He found it without searching for it, without foreseeing it. It came to his piano suddenly, complete, sublime, or it sang in his head during a walk, and he would hasten to hear it again by tossing it off on his instrument.” This comment brings to mind Supreme Master Ching Hai’s description of how She creates Her art works quickly and naturally from inner revelations: “My inspirations come from inside my brain! Sometimes the colors and pictures come before I can paint them. So I have to do it fast before I forget. Sometimes I’m very inspired. In one day I can make ten or twenty designs or in one night perhaps thirty clothing designs.”

Chopin also possessed the humility, detachment and simplicity of an enlightened being. For example, when the great German composer Robert Schumann responded to Chopin’s early work, the Opus 2 Variations for Piano, with the now-famous remark, “Hats off, gentlemen, a genius!” Chopin reacted modestly, disliking the public excitement that soon propelled him to international fame. Also, these excerpts from his letters attest to the composers’ detached attitude and uncomplicated nature: “I’m a revolutionary; money means nothing to me” and “Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties.” As Supreme Master Ching Hai teaches, “We must become like children to return to the Heavenly Kingdom. We should not be too complicated. We must not mind too much about everything. Even when we grow up, we should still preserve a heart like a child’s.” Through observation of his life and writings, it appears that Chopin clearly lived up to this ideal.

According to a witness, the priest Abbé Jelowicki, as Chopin neared his untimely death at age thirty-nine from tuberculosis, he seemed truly happy, and told others of his contentment. At this moment he expressed only ecstatic joy, love of God, detachment from the world, and a wish for a speedy departure from the physical body. He called on the names of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, kissed the crucifix he was holding and pressed it to his heart, crying, “Now I am at the source of Blessedness” as if to say that he was aware of entering the region of Heavenly Light. As Supreme Master Ching Hai says, when we are enlightened, we “transcend the limits of death and live forever. Once the fear of death is transcended, is understood by our own very weak and scared soul, we are forever eternal.” Perhaps at this point Chopin had truly reached the state he wrote of in his letters: “Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties.”