Western Music Made by Buddhists

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Western Music Made by Buddhists

Postby Jikan » Tue Feb 11, 2014 7:45 pm

This thread poses an interesting question, but perhaps on faulty premisses:

viewtopic.php?f=63&t=15560&view=unread#unread

Even if we are limited only to the tradition referred to as "classical," the Serious Tradition of composers and orchestral arrangements, we have significant contributions made by persons who identify as Buddhists or who are influenced by Buddhist practices (or by Buddhists).

Case one: John Cage. Taught at Naropa Institute (his poor reception there in 1974 is documented in the book ). I've not read this book, but I understand it discusses his music in the light of his Zen practice: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1594203407

Case Two: Philip Glass. Practicing Buddhist since 1966. Interesting interview: http://www.tricycle.com/interview/first ... n?page=0,0

I bring this up to point out the obvious, that Richard Wagner is neither the most recent nor the most unproblematic example of a composer who espoused some kind of commitment to Dharma. Surely there are others. For myself, if I had several consecutive hours to set aside for music, I would surely choose Einstein on the Beach or the Qatsi films (I've seen all three) over the Ring cycle.

Beyond the confines of the "classical" tradition, Peter Hershock makes interesting reference to improvisational jazz as directly analogous to Ch'an practice in Liberating Intimacy (an underappreciated book in my opinion). It's a provocative argument and worth considering.
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Re: Western Music Made by Buddhists

Postby odysseus » Tue Feb 11, 2014 8:52 pm

Wu Tang Clan has a member called Buddhamonk.

RZA (I think) raps "I keep the peace like a Buddhist" but I don´t remember which song.

Don´t know if they are Buddhists but nice nonetheless.
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Re: Western Music Made by Buddhists

Postby Jikan » Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:00 pm

Sure. I once heard a rap song that included the Daimoku, but I can't track it down now (maybe I misheard). Anyway, since we're talking about music beyond the extraordinarily limited confines of the classical world, here's a clip of my favorite Buddhist musician (from her pre-Buddhist days):



ain't nobody's maid


...and a bluegrass tune about Guru Padmasambhava that includes his mantra.



*edited to get the html right.
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Re: Western Music Made by Buddhists

Postby dzogchungpa » Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:01 pm

Lou Reed was very interested in Buddhism, as is his widow Laurie Anderson.
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Re: Western Music Made by Buddhists

Postby dzogchungpa » Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:09 pm

ཨོཾ་ཏཱ་རེ་ཏུཏྟ་རེ་ཏུ་རེ་སྭཱཧཱ༔
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Re: Western Music Made by Buddhists

Postby dzogchungpa » Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:10 pm

Well, if you're including SGI, there's Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter as well. Two of the greatest musicians ever, IMO.
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Re: Western Music Made by Buddhists

Postby odysseus » Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:11 pm

A local band are Buddhists and westerners. They make western pop music.

https://soundcloud.com/babyjaws
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Re: Western Music Made by Buddhists

Postby dzogchungpa » Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:16 pm

One more before I go, although calling his stuff music is kind of a stretch, John Giorno, a staunch Dudjomite.
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Re: Western Music Made by Buddhists

Postby Lhug-Pa » Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:41 pm

From the Music Time thread:


Vipaśyanā विपश्यना (Nix Productions)




http://sonofsaturn.bandcamp.com/track/a ... rod-eon-ra


http://sonofsaturn.bandcamp.com/track/n ... a-milarepa


The Beat Poets - Dharani Cintamani (Produced by Scientific)

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Re: Western Music Made by Buddhists

Postby Jikan » Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:47 pm

how could I forget that our own Johnny Dangerous is a musician?

dzogchungpa wrote:Well, if you're including SGI, there's Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter as well. Two of the greatest musicians ever, IMO.


Have you heard them covering Joni Mitchell tunes together? brilliant work
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Re: Western Music Made by Buddhists

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Feb 11, 2014 10:05 pm

Lots in popular music..offhand, Lou Reed and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and of course Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys (now deceased) I know practice Tibetan Buddhism.

There is a ton of underground drone/noise music that is Dharma Influenced, sometimes it borders on appropriation, but it's interesting in that often it's an attempt to use ritual sound in similar method similar to those in Vajrayana, though i'm sure it's validity would be questioned by plenty of traditionalists, this is different from a lot of Dharma music where the lyrics are where the Buddhist content often is. Here's one of my favorite projects:

https://soundcloud.com/ytstlabs

And since it was mentioned, ahem....here's my bandcamp and soundcloud sites, fair warning..plenty of people don't consider it music, and they might be right!
https://soundcloud.com/zach-zinn
http://zachzinn.bandcamp.com/

I think if we really spent some time on it, we could come up with a good size list of Dharma musicians across genres, by and large since most Buddhists don't usually plant a flag saying "Hey look everyone, i'm religious, here's what I believe", you have to look closer at the artists themselves to know what's going on. IIRC there were a few Buddhist punk bands, and probably still are too..but the memory of who they were has faded.

I don't remember that they ever came out and said it directly, but I always suspected that Fugzai (for those of you who might have liked 90's post punk type stuff) were Buddhist, or Buddhist influences at one point or another:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maM9BCQS4n4&feature=kp

See if you think the lyrics to this song could be anything but Dharmic heh, if they aren't, they sure are on the same page.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Western Music Made by Buddhists

Postby Nighthawk » Tue Feb 11, 2014 10:33 pm

odysseus wrote:Wu Tang Clan has a member called Buddhamonk.

RZA (I think) raps "I keep the peace like a Buddhist" but I don´t remember which song.

Don´t know if they are Buddhists but nice nonetheless.


I also heard a Jay Z song once on the radio where he talks about meditating like a Buddhist.
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Re: Western Music Made by Buddhists

Postby odysseus » Tue Feb 11, 2014 10:41 pm

Nighthawk wrote:I also heard a Jay Z song once on the radio where he talks about meditating like a Buddhist.


Maybe it was him, I don´t have the song anymore.
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Re: Western Music Made by Buddhists

Postby dzogchungpa » Tue Feb 11, 2014 11:50 pm

Also, K. D. Lang and, if you include "Zen" Buddhism, Leonard Cohen.
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Re: Western Music Made by Buddhists

Postby dzogchungpa » Tue Feb 11, 2014 11:54 pm

Nighthawk wrote:I also heard a Jay Z song once on the radio where he talks about meditating like a Buddhist.

Here's where Mr. Z is coming from spiritually:
http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/Books-That-Made-a-Difference-to-Jay-Z/1
http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/Books-That-Made-a-Difference-to-Jay-Z/2
ཨོཾ་ཏཱ་རེ་ཏུཏྟ་རེ་ཏུ་རེ་སྭཱཧཱ༔
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Re: Western Music Made by Buddhists

Postby dzogchungpa » Wed Feb 12, 2014 12:02 am

Jikan wrote:Have you heard them covering Joni Mitchell tunes together? brilliant work

Speaking of Joni, who is also one of the greats, there's this:
http://www.elephantjournal.com/2010/05/joni-mitchell-a-song-for-chogyam-trungpa/
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Re: Western Music Made by Buddhists

Postby odysseus » Wed Feb 12, 2014 2:51 am

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Re: Western Music Made by Buddhists

Postby wisdom » Wed Feb 12, 2014 2:55 am

Ive always found all of Lives stuff to be very Buddhist/Hindu sounding. Theres even a song called T.B.D. which stands for "Tibetan Book of the Dead".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-t18t1Nj_FU
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Re: Western Music Made by Buddhists

Postby odysseus » Wed Feb 12, 2014 3:20 am

Not sure how much Buddhist they are, but a big thanks to Tibet Team Frankfurt for their sympathy. :twothumbsup:

http://www.discogs.com/artist/45539-Tib ... -Frankfurt
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Re: Western Music Made by Buddhists

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:50 am

Years ago, I had an album called "Dharana" (released 1970) from a group called "Between".
It had strong Buddhist influences.
At about 11:00 on the track, "Om Namo Amitabha"
Definitely had an influence on me.
And, it is really so easy for religiously inspired popular music to just be bad,
but this album is, I think, not bad at all.

It's on YouTube now:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ut7VMxwF4oQ

A photo of the group on the album showed the organizer of the group, Peter Michael Hamel,
with a mala and very short hair, so i think at least at that time, Dharma stuff was in his thoughts

More about him: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Michael_Hamel
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
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