Sharings 1/29/11

Some sharings:

  1. Rhythm & Music in a village in Guinea. My kids loved this !  11 min
  2. The Heart Sutra : Hard core screaming Rage Music version of the Heart Sutra from Japan.  Look, you make chanting nonsense a magic way to win happiness, health and good grades and force it on your kids and this is what you get.  You deserve it.
  3. Buddhist Rap:  Poking fun at Buddhist narcissism — great fun!


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9 responses to “Sharings 1/29/11

  1. I love the first one, like your kids. My son’s just back from two years in Francophone (Togo) West Africa. Great stuff. The rap was filmed at Spirit Rock near here. I’ve been there quite a bit. Fun to see it in a less-than-reverent context. Thanks for sharing, Sabio.

  2. Hey Dan
    Yes, I remember a pic on your site of you, son and wife sitting around a large table in an empty room. You told of his recent return. Did Togo change him? Is he a practicing Buddhist too?

    After seeing the movie my son (a fifth grader), still spell bound, said, “I can see how other kids may make fun of those people and think their weird, but I think they are amazing and can feel their hearts.” BTW, my son is a practicing nothing — oh, well, I guess he is still a practicing child. 😀

    The rap thing I liked because it poked fun at spiritual narcissism I have seem in Buddhism — you? The Rage Music I could understand because I have seen kids raised in superstitious Japanese Buddhism.

  3. Hi, Sabio. Yes, Togo changed him, made him more himself. He’s more mature, much more confident, and slower to arrive at a judgment, especially a negative one. He could have been described as mature, confident, and open-minded prior to leaving, but his time in Togo accentuated those qualities. He’s more patriotic, too. Appreciates America more, or at least American ideals.

    He’s not a practicing Buddhist, though he did go with me on a week-long retreat at Spirit Rock (where the Buddhist rap was filmed) and there’s a photo of him standing there on my very first Mindful Heart post, July 2008. The post is titled “Metta” and he named his cute African dog Metta.

    Your son is wise. Rhythm is everything. My kindergartners can tell you that, too. Music, rhythm particularly, is a big part of my life as a teacher. Well, not everything. There is melody, harmony too.

    Have my travels in Buddhism brought me together with spiritual narcissists? Oh, my. Is the Pope Catholic? Buddhism can be a magnet for a variety of difficult personality types, narcissism among them. Skillfully done, Buddhist practices can have a healing effect. I’ve seen that, too.

  4. Thanks Dan
    Wow, each of those could have been a post by themselves on your website. Maybe you could consider doing the following two posts:
    a) What my son thinks of his Dad’s Buddhism — or better yet, have him do a guest post.
    b) My experiences with Buddhist Narcissism

    I’d also be curious about your wife’s opinion on Buddhism — don’t hear much about her.

    Also, I looked up Spirit Rock. I wonder how they got permission to do it there and if the guys rapping are Buddhist. Do you know the story?

  5. Thanks, I totally love that version of the Heart Sutra!

    Here’s another great one — Gary Dyson’s dance mix:

    I am working on some Buddhist Death Metal songs. There’s a radio station near where I live that broadcasts mostly Christian Death Metal. I think the idea of “death metal” is hysterically funny all by itself, and Christian death metal is an almost military-strength die-laughing joke.

    Buddhism is basically a death cult, so Buddhist death metal seems like a sure thing.

  6. Hey David,
    Ya know, I don’t get “Death Metal”. Do you have clues how people embrace it?
    Is this another 1970’s barrier thing?🙂
    I like the link you gave — fascinating. Well, I guess I like the “chanting” parts but not the melody parts

    Interesting about Buddhism being a “death cult” — not sure what that is. I look at Buddhism as life-savoring because of familiarity with death. Well, I am sure I just spoke way above my experience, but it sounded good to me.

  7. Personally I find it difficult to get past the giggles, so I’m not really the right person to ask about death metal. But you might find these explanations interesting:

    Very nicely written, at any rate.

    My “death cult” comment is mostly a joke, relating to my “Buddhism for Vampires” site, but there’s more than a bit of truth in it, too.

    In most Buddhist countries, the most important cultural role for monks is conducting funerals. In Japan, e.g., Buddhism is “the religion of death”, whereas Shinto is “the religion of life.” Zen is popularly referred to as “the religion of the undertakers”. The point is that Buddhism is seen as mostly relevant to obtaining favorable future rebirth, not something that is of use in this life.

    Arguably that is a misinterpretation, but even according to the Pali scriptures, Buddhism started with Shakyamuni’s obsession with death. The teachers he studied with practiced death-in-life (e.g. extreme asceticism), apparently as a way of trying to escape or transform final death. Some Western scholars argue that Buddhist meditation is based on the same approach; shamatha is a kind of “practice” death; death of the thought process. That becomes explicit in the bardo practices of Dzogchen, which unify life and death.

    Lots more to say about that, and I doubtless will, on the B4V site, at some point.

  8. Sabio, I concur with David here. When I visited Japan and stayed at the Buddhist temple near Takeo City in Japan, I saw that it functioned as a mausoleum for the community. The priest offered incense, tea, and steamed rice each morning to the ashes of the departed which were housed in a large room serving no other purpose than to house urns and boxes holding ashes together with very small alters. In the side yard was an area reserved for the remains of stillborn children going back a long, long time.

    Buddhism as practiced in America is a whole nuther ballgame.

  9. johnl

    @Dan: Your description is accurate, but it is not the whole story. Temples respond to the needs of their community. For small local communities, funerary services dominate. In heavily touristy areas, like the temple Sensoji in Asakusa, funerary services are not evident. Probably most temples offer a bit of everything. One temple I go to even has yoga classes! (in addition to a cemetery and a large hall for funerals). In a more general sense, yes, Buddhism seeks to address the problem of death.

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