Rapping Monk Slings Buddhist Rhymes Skip to main content

Rapping Monk Slings Buddhist Rhymes

CNN, Jan 22, 2010

'Mr. Happiness' Says Using Hip-Hop Good Way To Attract Young

Tokyo, Japan -- Outside the 400-year-old Kyoouji Temple, Kansho Tagai, dressed in his traditional monk robes, paused and began a sutra. He bobbed his head and then broke into a lyrical rap.

<< Tagai, a monk also known as Mr. Happiness, serves up Buddhism to a hip hop beat. "This is an old, old story, a fantasy and longing cosmology. Hey, hey, what's the story about? It's about the Buddha, yo. Hey brother, listen carefully! You got it? No? You don't?
Okay, baby, no problem." Tagai, or Mr. Happiness, as he prefers to be called, is delivering an ancient message to a hip hop beat. The monk hosts hip hop shows at his temple, drawing young people to a place that is traditionally filled with the elderly. His hip hop message is so popular that twice as many people now visit his temple. "Buddha's doctrine is a treasure for us," Tagai said. "But we're not able to convey his wisdom to the people if we only stick with the old ways. So I try to use a new way to spread Buddha's doctrine. I want to spread Buddhism to the young by using the language they easily understand. Buddhism itself hasn't changed. It's just the way it's presented." The ancient religion is in crisis, Tagai said, because monks are not reaching the young with a message that brings spiritual relief. The numbers support his fears. Japan is home to 75,000 temples, but those numbers are on the decline. The Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs reports that since 2000, hundreds of temples have closed every year. Younger monks like Tagai are taking matters into their own hands, by trying to attract a new generation of Buddhists. At the Monk Bar in Shinjuku, Zenshin Fujioka shakes up the house special. He pours a drink layered in red, yellow and pink, which he calls "heaven." His other special of the night is "hell," a spicy vodka mix that sticks with you for hours. Never mind that Zenshin is a monk. Sutras are shaken and stirred at the Monk Bar. "There's this image that monks sit deep in a mountain, training alone," Zenshin said. "But it's important that we come down into the secular world and live in modern society. An altar doesn't mean you have a temple. A temple is a place where people follow the faith and Buddha." "This place is a temple," Zenshin said, wiping liquor off the bar. To those who call the venue a gimmick, he said, "please visit my bar before judging." As the bar filled with smoke and patrons one evening, Zenshin paused and rang his bell. The ancient sutras flowed forth, as customers listened. Hardly anyone can follow the ancient Buddhist text, a Japanese that's so complicated, only monks are readily able to understand it. But Zenshin said the real religion happens as he pours the drinks, talking to his guests about their problems and soothing with the Buddhist texts. "Buddhism for Japan is a religion you normally only experience at funerals," said patron Naoyuki Osano, who comes to the bar twice a week. "But the Buddhist philosophy is wonderful. It's great to have a place like this for us to learn about Buddhism." Ref: Buddhist Channel


Popular posts from this blog

Chronology of the Press in Burma

1836 – 1846 * During this period the first English-language newspaper was launched under British-ruled Tenasserim, southern  Burma . The first ethnic Karen-language and Burmese-language newspapers also appear in this period.     March 3, 1836 —The first English-language newspaper,  The Maulmain Chronicle , appears in the city of Moulmein in British-ruled Tenasserim. The paper, first published by a British official named E.A. Blundell, continued up until the 1950s. September 1842 —Tavoy’s  Hsa-tu-gaw  (the  Morning Star ), a monthly publication in the Karen-language of  Sgaw ,  is established by the Baptist mission. It is the first ethnic language newspaper. Circulation reached about three hundred until its publication ceased in 1849. January 1843 —The Baptist mission publishes a monthly newspaper, the Christian  Dhamma  Thadinsa  (the  Religious Herald ), in Moulmein. Supposedly the first Burmese-language newspaper, it continued up until the first year of the second Angl

Thai penis whitening trend raises eyebrows

Image copyright LELUXHOSPITAL Image caption Authorities warn the procedure could be quite painful A supposed trend of penis whitening has captivated Thailand in recent days and left it asking if the country's beauty industry is taking things too far. Skin whitening is nothing new in many Asian countries, where darker skin is often associated with outdoor labour, therefore, being poorer. But even so, when a clip of a clinic's latest intriguing procedure was posted online, it quickly went viral. Thailand's health ministry has since issued a warning over the procedure. The BBC Thai service spoke to one patient who had undergone the treatment, who told them: "I wanted to feel more confident in my swimming briefs". The 30-year-old said his first session of several was two months ago, and he had since seen a definite change in the shade. 'What for?' The original Facebook post from the clinic offering the treatment, which uses lasers to break do

Myanmar Villagers Tell of 150 Homes Burned in Deadly Army Air Attacks

Artillery fire and aerial bombardments by Myanmar forces killed three civilians and burned scores of houses in their communities in mid-March amid fighting between Myanmar forces and the rebel Arakan Army in war-ravaged Rakhine state, villagers recounted Monday at a press conference. Villagers from Kyauktaw township in western Myanmar's Rakhine state discuss the government military's attacks on their communities at press conference in Sittwe, March 30, 2020. They made the comments after traveling from in Kyauktaw township to the state capital Sittwe to give testimony on a series of attacks on civilian dwellings amid a government-imposed internet shutdown in nine townships in Rakhine and neighboring Chin state, cutting off vital information about the fighting. They villagers accused the Myanmar Army of conducting an aerial bombing on civilian communities that destroyed about 150 homes and a monastery in Pyaing Taing village, while government soldiers on the g