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Lions Roar : July 2015
BODHI CHATTER Dharma, pop-culture, and good-natured gossip. On August 6, Jon Stewart will step down from his post at The Daily Show—and fans want to know what’s next. It seems they have an answer. (The operative word here, of course, is seems.) Stewart opened a recent Show by saying, “Many of you know I announced I was gonna be leaving the show to join a monastery,” and that he’s finally learned what a “moment of Zen” really is. (No matter that the depiction here shows him in Theravada, and not Zen, robes.) He’s joking, of course, but in April he showed that there’s nothing fake about his altruistic streak, purchasing a New Jersey farm with the intention to make it a sanctuary for animals rescued from cruelty. • • • Each annual benefit concert for NYC’s Tibet House features artists—like Patti Smith and Philip Glass—long associated with the pro-Tibet cause. This year’s also included the Flaming Lips, Sturgill Simpson, and NPR mainstay Ira Glass, who read the Allen Ginsberg poems “On The Cremation of Chögyam Trungpa, Vidyadhara” and “Wichita Vortex Sutra.” Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry sang, and copped to a Tibetan influence in her music. She told T magazine that her hit “Heart of Glass” is about “love and lost love and there’s definitely a loss that Tibetans are suffering. The song’s about getting beyond that loss, and Tibetans can fully appreciate that sentiment.” Perhaps the most surprising guest artist? Miley Cyrus. But then, the pop star urged fans in 2012 to “Go, be by yourself, go meditate, go spend 10 minutes really looking at yourself,” and even created an app to help them do just that. • • • Recently on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, Michael Imperioli got quite personal—about act- ing and directing, life after The Sopranos, playing music, cooking (he was winner of the Chopped Tournament of Stars), and his practice of Tibetan Buddhism. “I was brought up Catholic,” he says, “but I was exposed to Buddhism through Jack Kerouac... [But] I wasn’t really ready for it.” That changed, he insists, when he started attending actual Buddhist teachings, and began a daily practice. • • • Thich Nhat Hanh weighing in on the Oscars? In a way, yes. The Zen teacher’s Facebook page posted congrats to Birdman director Alejandro González Iñárritu for his Academy Award Best Picture win, and expressed gratitude for thanking Thich Nhat Hanh in the film’s credits, noting that “Alejandro follows Thay’s teachings, and says of his [own] mindfulness practice, ‘It’s like my island, my own time. It’s very nice and gentle. It’s the most simple thing, like breathing. Literally just being aware of your breathing is a powerful thing.’” • • • Stephen Hawking is no Buddhist, but he makes for yet another example of meaningful confluence between science and dharma. The physicist recently identified aggression—one of Buddhism’s three poisons, along with passion and ignorance—as one of the greatest threats to humanity itself. Quoth Hawking: “The human failing I would most like to correct is aggression. It may have had survival advantage in caveman days, to get more food, territory, or partner with whom to reproduce, but now it threatens to destroy us all.” He said that the quality “I would most like to magnify is empathy. It brings us together in a peaceful, loving state.” ♦ This Issue’s Dharma-Burger This headline from Metro.co.uk, about a device that monitors your breathing, speaks for itself. SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2015 18 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE