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Lions Roar : March 2010
SHAMBHALA SUN MArcH 2010 29 the rZa—born robert diggs—needs no introduction to hardcore fans of hip-hop. after setting the rap world on its ear with 1993’s groundbreaking Enter the Wu-tang (36 Chambers), the mastermind of the Wu-tang Clan has since produced a slew of albums and has branched out to film scores (Kill Bill, ghost dogs) and books. he first found inspiration in the teachings of the nation of gods and Earths, and has delved into taoism, Christianity, Confucianism, and, yes, Buddhism—even visiting China’s famed shaolin temple. With his second book, The Tao of Wu, out now, he sat down with the sun to discuss how far his spiritual quest has taken him, and how far he still hopes to go. – rod MEadE sPErry you seem to always see the lessons to be learned from difficult times. is that an accurate percep- tion of who you are? It’s an accurate perception of what I developed to be. Wasn’t always like that. First you have pity and regret and revenge in your heart for the bad things in the past that have happened to you. But as you grow, you start realizing that all the burning of the iron, shall we say, helped to forge you into the person you are. I realize the benefits I’ve gained from tragedy. is the peace you’ve found because of your spirituality? yeah, from being aware of my spirituality and from being aware of life itself. Sometimes, we are unaware of life, even though it’s all around us. I’d like to use Da Mo [also known as Bodhidharma] as an example. One monk was telling him that all things are empty. Then Da Mo banged him on the head. The guy was like, “Ow! Why did you hit me?” Da Mo said, “If all things are empty, how do you feel that?” So, in one sense, all things are empty, but at the same time all things are filled. One man’s garbage is another man’s beauty. When you find your own self, your true self, you start to find the beauty in all things because the beauty exists in you. At this stage in life, that’s how I feel. A few months ago, I was on tour in France. I had toured in France over a dozen times before, but I’d never seen France. I’d even had a villa [laughs] and I’d still never seen this place until I saw it recently with this awareness I have. All of a sudden, I recognized their culture, their history, and the strength of that nation. I felt compelled to go to their museums. I felt compelled to sit at a little restaurant and have a cup of tea. I felt it differently. And I think that is because what’s coming from inside is causing me to see better outside. on your spiritual path, you’ve taken elements from Buddhism and elements from various other traditions and made your own way. yeah, I’ve taken the grains of truth from everything that resonates. Jesus, Buddha, and Muhammad—all these wise men, they came for us. They came to teach, to enlighten, to help us get to the kingdom of peace, whether they call it nirvana, heaven, or paradise. It’s my duty to understand each one of these teachers. By me understanding what Buddha said, when I am talking to a brother Buddhist we can communicate. I don’t have to be blocked by Christianity or blocked by Muslim teachings or blocked by anything because I am now aware of the psychology and the thinking of what he is expressing, and I can also see it. When I was in China I saw all these different buddhas. I saw a big fat buddha. I saw the regular buddha standing. I saw the crying buddha. I saw the drunken buddha. And it hit me as a revelation that these are the different ways to get to enlightenment. Buddha himself, he tried one hundred paths. These statues are representing ideas. you’re not supposed to worship the statues. They’re signs. QA The Tao of the RZA THE RZA and regret and revenge in your heart for the bad things in the past that have happened to you. But as you grow, you start realizing that all the burning of the iron, shall we say, helped to forge you into the person you are. I realize the benefits I’ve gained from tragedy. that is because what’s coming from inside is causing me to see better outside. PHOTOByIVORKLJUCE