Gyuto (Tibetan རྒྱུད་སྟོད་ , Wylie rGyud sTod) was founded in 1475 by Jetsun Kunga Dhondup and is one of the main tantric colleges of the Gelug tradition. In Tibet, monks who had completed their geshe studies would be invited to join Gyuto or Gyume, another tantric institution, to receive a firm grounding in vajrayana practice. Both of these monasteries used to be in Lhasa, Tibet, but they have been re-established in India.
At the time of the Chinese invasion in 1950, about 1000 monks were part of the monastery. 60 Gyuto monks fled to India in 1959. After initially gathering in Dalhousie, India, the monastery was established in Tenzing Gang, in Arunachal Pradesh, India.
Gyuto's monks are known for their tradition of overtone singing, also described as "chordal chanting" which is said to have been transmitted by their founder. It achieved renown in the West following the release of recordings made by David Lewiston in 1974, and in 1986 by Windham Hill Records.
In 1995, a group of Gyuto Monks traveled to the United States and performed during a series of concerts with the Grateful Dead. Under the name "Gyüto Monks Tantric Choir", they appeared on the Mickey Hart/Planet Drum album Supralingua.
In 2008, the Gyuto Monks assisted in the preparations for the five day visit of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, at the Dome in Sydney Olympic Park. As tantric masters, Gyuto monks play a very specific role in the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and thus were able to advise on, and carry out, the ritual requirements necessary for His Holiness’s program throughout the five days.
In June 2013, The Gyuto Monks of Tibet announced their signing to Universal Music, the world’s biggest record company. Their forthcoming album, ‘Chants: The Spirit of Tibet’, will be produced by Youth, the bassist for the post-punk rock band Killing Joke, whose production and remix credits include Primal Scream, U2, Paul McCartney, Depeche Mode and The Verve.
Youth said of the music “The Monks exemplify, in their mystical chants, the essence of Tibetan Tantric Wisdom and the profound philosophy of the Dalai Lama. This is a musical system intentionally designed to alter your consciousness towards an illuminated and enlightened state.”
In addition to this, The Orb – widely known as the inventors of “ambient house” from the late 1980s – are remixing the famous Buddhist ‘chordal chanting’, which has become the Buddhist musical trademark. The LP is co-produced and mixed by Tim Bran whose production and mixing credits include The Verve, La Roux and Scissor Sisters. Due for release on the Decca Records label on 8th July, the album is being recorded at the monastery in Dharamsala, a remote former British hill station in the foothills of the Himalayas. It combines the Gyuto Monks distinctive chanting and the finest Tibetan musicians, with the aim of transporting the listener to another world.
To mark the 100th anniversary of the Tibetan Declaration of Independence, the world famous Gyuto Monks of Tibet have been invited to perform at this year’s Glastonbury Festival. They will perform on Thursday 27th June 2013 in the Green Fields, as well as create a ceremonial Sand Mandala, a Tibetan Buddhist tradition of building a symbolic picture of the universe out of coloured sand which, on completion, is dissolved and returned to the waters of the earth.
- 1974 – Tantra Of Gyüto: Sacred Rituals Of Tibet. Directed by Sheldon Rochlin and Mark Elliott.
- 1989 – The Gyuto Monks: Timeless Voices
- Chants: The Spirit Of Tibet (2013)
- Tibetan Chants for World Peace : Gyuto Monks Tantric Choir (2008)
- Sounds of Global Harmony CD (2001)
- Om Mani Padme Hum : The Jewel In the Lotus (2001)
- The Practice of Contentment : A Meditation Guide
- Tantric Trilogy : The Gyuto Monks of Tibet
- Seven Years in Tibet: film soundtrack
- Track 2 : Young Dalai Lama and Ceremonial Chant (includes excerpt from "Mahakala" written and performed by the Gyuto Monks Tantric Choir)
- Track 6 : The Invasion (includes excerpt from "Yamantaka" written and performed by the Gyuto Monks Tantric Choir)(1997)
- Freedom Chants from the Roof of the World : The Gyuto Monks, The World (Rykodisc/Mickey Hart Series)(1989)
- Tibetan Tantric Choir : The Gyuto Monks (1986)
- Music of Tibet - Recorded by Huston Smith, CD produced by mondayMEDIA, released on the GemsTone label (1967)