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Lions Roar : May 2015
BODHI CHATTER Dharma, pop-culture, and good-natured gossip. Benedict Cumberbatch, star of Sherlock—and, seemingly, the entire Internet—will soon play Marvel Comics’ “master of the mystic arts,” Doctor Strange. Turns out he has an affinity for the mystic, having spent time teaching English to Buddhist monks. (He also shot a special Sherlock webisode that took place inside a Buddhist monas- tery.) Cumberbatch told the Wall Street Journal: “I meditate a lot... I took a lot of stuff away from my experience in Darjeeling, West Bengal, right at the Nepali border. It was Tibetan Buddhist monks in a converted Nepali house in India, with a view of Bhutan. It was a profoundly formative experience at a very young age. It’s something I’ve tried to keep in my life.” • • • February saw Courtney Love returning to the Ed Sullivan Theatre to sit down with David Letterman. But this wasn’t the Courtney the singer’s trolls love to cluck about. She explained to Dave—who’d famously hosted a rather dif- ferent Love in 2004—that she has been and remains sober due to her practice of Nichiren Buddhism: “It turned everything around.” Dave, for his part, actually copped to meditating a bit himself. Only problem? “I get bored,” he deadpanned. • • • From digital artist Chris Milnes come “Zen” versions of iconic pop-culture characters. The heads of Bat- man, Yoda, Darth Vader, Chewbacca, Boba Fett, Groot, and so on have been placed on the body of Hotei, often referred to as the “laughing” (or, “fat”) Buddha. They’re all 3D-printed, and so are a good deal more affordable than your usual pop objet d’art. Milnes says his work “consists of mashing up existing items to bring a new mean- ing. In this statue I’m equating Bud- dhism to ‘The Force’ in Star Wars lore.” • • • Conservative commentator Glenn Beck surprised us all recently when he sat down for a gentle conversation with St. Louis-based rapper Prince Ea. In the eight-minute chat, video’d for Beck’s net- work, The Blaze, Ea talks about his heroes—which include MCs like Immortal Technique and Chuck D., as well as “Jesus, Buddha, [and] Krishna.” Beck, who’s always been vocal—and that’s putting it mildly—about his Christianity, expresses similar admiration: “I just started reading the teachings of Buddha,” he offers. “He got it.” But it’s Ea who’s the star here, casually hold- ing forth on hip-hop’s intel- lectual potential, the four noble truths, and why Bud- dhism transcends religious barriers. “You are so wise,” Beck coos. ♦ This issue’s Dharma-Burger: Lucky Buddha beer From the various “Buddha Bar” lounges found around the world to style-biting spirits like “Zen” liqueur, alcohol sellers have found that cash- ing in on Buddhism’s mystique works. Lucky Buddha (slogan: “Enlightened Beer”) made its name by shaping its bottle like Hotei. “It’s not actually THE Buddha and therefore not religious but cultural,” LB’s website tells us, somewhat defensively. In January, the brewer stepped things up, peddling the beer as a Super-Bowl bettor’s good luck charm. SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2015 18 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE