The Buddha Meets Eminem (sort of)

February 3, 2010

February 3, 2010

Centuries ago Buddhism and Buddhist temples played a daily role in Japanese life. Sadly, today, many temples are struggling to even keep the lights on. For many modern Japanese the only time they meet a Buddhist monk or come into contact with Buddhist teachings is when a loved one dies and the funeral is held at the local temple. In response many Buddhist temples are getting "creative" with regard to how they attract young people, all in an effort to reintroduce the tradition. Think of it as Buddhism re-dux, or 2.0.

A 2007 article titled "Monks stage fashion show" mentioned developments at the Tsukiji Honganji temple, that included monks and nuns from eight major Buddhist sects showing off their colorful and beautiful robes on a catwalk. A 2006 AP story out of Tokyo told how the Higashi Honganji temple hosted showings of World Cup games from Germany in an effort to attract local soccer fans. The article also described the work of higan.net, "a web-based movement of young monks to organize festivals, discos, and meditation sessions." Discos?

But is the Buddhist world ready for monk Kansho Tagai, aka Mr. Happiness? It better be, because here comes a traditional sutra set to a hip hop beat.

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