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Lions Roar : March 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2008 59 MELVIN MCLEOD: Over the years, you’ve made passing references to Buddhism, but this is the first time you’ve dis- cussed your Buddhist practice in detail. How long have you been a Buddhist? K.D. LANG: From a very early age I have considered my- self to be a Buddhist. I don’t even know where that came from, it was just an innate feeling. I was also very interested in—and very sure of—the concept of reincarnation. Then the older I got and the more I learned about Buddhism, the more I felt at home with its principles and philosophy. I took refuge as a Buddhist about seven years ago, so it’s clearly something that I’ve kept relatively low key in the press. I don’t think it’s necessary or even helpful to adver- tise your practice of the dharma. What type of Buddhism do you practice? About eight years ago I met a teacher here in Los Angeles from the Nyingma lineage of Tibet, Lama Chödak Gyatso Nubpa. The great teacher Chagdud Tulku asked him to come here and work on stabilizing dharma in the West. Lama Gyatso quickly became my teacher. I have been practicing and studying with him since. I’m very proud to be a Nyingma practitioner. It totally suits my character. It’s the oldest Tibetan lineage and yet in some ways the most radical, you might say. Although there is plenty of academic study, it is not fundamentally academic. Beyond that, the importance of being a Nying- ma to me is the purity of the lineage. The oral transmis- sion has remained unbroken and it’s very, very potent. There is an unwavering dedication and homage to Guru Rinpoche, the founder of the lineage, and to your root lama. That kind of deep dedication is what makes the Nyingma tradition so special. What practices do you do? I’m actually in the middle of doing my ngöndro, the pre- liminary Vajrayana practices. I practice it in my hotel room, on the plane, wherever I can. As far as our sangha is concerned, there are practices that we do as a group on a regular basis. We have a thröma retreat that we do every year. We do Yeshe Tsogyal and a few other secret prac- tices. We do Orgyen Dzambhala every New Year’s. Committing to a teacher as you have, particularly one in the Tibetan tradition, can really turn your life upside down. k.d. lang’s watershed Her new album, Watershed, reflects the dramatic changes in her life since she became a committed Buddhist. k.d. lang talks for the first time about her Buddhist teacher and practice. PHOTOBYJERIHEIDEN MAR 58-61.indd 59 MAR 58-61.indd 59 12/19/07 2:15:04 PM 12/19/07 2:15:04 PM