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Lions Roar : September 2007
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2007 99 e-mailbox. And, happily, not because it’s embarrassing. • This issue’s Dharma Burger: No, it’s not some new fast- food sandwich, but it can be every bit as dubious as a Mc- DLT and a super-sized “New Coke.” A “Dharma Burger” is any example of Buddhist ideas or imagery in the marketing or production of (usually non-Buddhist) services and consumables. Take, for example, this web ad for the technology giant, Cisco: A gaggle of young Tibetan monks, gathered around a wireless laptop—we’ve seen this kind of thing before, haven’t we? “Buddhist Monks Doing Western Things” is practically a genre unto itself. What’s interesting is how condescending it can seem (even when it’s unintentional, as it—probably—most often is). Just look at the tagline: “Welcome to the human network.” It’s not entirely crazy to read that as, “Hey, you kooky Third Worlders, nice to see you finally getting with the program.” Talk about ironic. If Tibetan monks don’t have a jump on being plugged into the “human network,” who does? ♦ since your teens, you can probably recall how much you resented having such a lame, adult-created label imposed upon you. Unfortunately, this one might stick yet; the “Buddsters” piece has since resurfaced in online syndication. My sincere good wishes to these younger Buddhists; may their practice take root, and may their silly new nickname quickly dry up and blow away. • So it’s raining buckets and you wouldn’t mind settling in for a DVD marathon, but you don’t want to just vegetate. Well, here’s one pleasure you shouldn’t feel guilty about: Not Just the Best of the Larry Sanders Show (7). Sure, it’s got 23 episodes of Garry Shandling’s groundbreaking and hilarious HBO series about the life and death of a Tonight-style late-night program. But it’s in the DVD- only extras that you’ll find the most enlightening moments: in candid visits with his guest- star friends, Shandling reveals an appealingly meditative side. A longtime practitioner in Thich Nhat Hanh’s tradition, the comedian used these get-togethers not just to catch up with the people he loves but to make that love plain. He humbly offers to former flame Sharon Stone that he’s keeping up his practice, just before telling her how important she remains to him. He shows friend Tom Petty his previously private dharma tattoo, there to remind Gary of his work towards “ego-emptiness.” And the DVD’s capping phrase comes from monk Hann Nguyen, who ends the video by reminding Shandling that “the true enemy is ignorance.” It’s not what you might expect from a retrospective of one of TV’s snarkiest comedies. But then, if you’ve got a sense of humor, you can find dharma just about anywhere. • A few months back, rapper Xzibit made some unexpected noise when the Buddhist chant Nam myoho renge kyo, established by Nichiren in 1253, appeared in “Concentrate,” the first single for his latest album. As one SGI blogger griped, the video, with its lyrics about “[unprintable]” and its intoning pseudo-monk in silly garb, is definitely not Buddhist. But is Xzibit on to something? It seems at least two dharma teachers think so. Singa Rinpoche, a thirty-year- old Tibetan lama, has released an album in which he mixes rap with Buddhist chanting in English, Chinese, and Tibetan. This hasn’t done much to help the lama’s reputation—he’s frequently criticized for his too-Western ways (indulging in expensive clothes and cars) and his cavalier interpretations of his monk’s precepts. Another new player in the hip-hop game is none other than Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, spiritual director of Shambhala International, who recently got his groove on in his first music video, “What About Me?” Soon after its debut on YouTube (8), news of the video quickly passed from e-mailbox to 6 7 8 SEPT 72-99.indd 99 SEPT 72-99.indd 99 6/25/07 5:31:27 PM 6/25/07 5:31:27 PM