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Lions Roar : March 2016
This Issue’s Dharma-Burger Kinky costume? Alien breeding pod? No, it’s a new “meditation hoodie,” which purveyor Vollebak bills as “the most relaxing piece of technical clothing ever created.” It’s yours for $330. Obscenely expensive? Yes, but then, it doubles as a fine place to hide in shame. BODHI CHATTER Dharma, pop culture, and good-natured gossip. The headline on LionsRoar.com all but wrote itself: “Tibetan lama meets the voice of God.” Of course, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, who’d posted this snap of himself with Morgan Freeman—pop culture’s default vocaliser of the Divine—was more restrained, calling the actor, simply, “a new friend.” Freeman, who visited with Rinpoche near the famed Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya, India, made the stop as part of a trip that would see him also meeting and inter- viewing His Holiness the 17th Karmapa for a forthcoming National Geographic miniseries called The Story of God. The narrator? You guessed it. • • • As UN Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson—you might also know her from Harry Potter—recently told Belgium’s Metro newspaper, she’s got her eye on still another gig: yoga instructor. She hopes to have her certificate soon. Watson also has a meditation practice, which she says is “born of an interest in Buddhism. I started being interested in a literary way, but I realized that reading books wasn’t enough, that you have to practice for it to work. So I started it, and I love it. It helps me a lot.” In December, Emma met with our friend and frequent contributor bell hooks, whose writ- ings on feminism, love, and spirituality she admires. • • • Buddhists—and Buddhas—can pop up in the darnedest places, culturally speaking. To wit: drone-metal heroes Sunn O)))’s new album, Kannon. A three-part suite inspired by the Buddhist deity of compassion who “hears the cries of the world,” it’s been praised and streamed well outside the underground, by the likes of Rolling Stone, The Guardian, and The New York Times. Perhaps not since the 1957 New Yorker publication of J.D. Salinger’s novella Zooey (later collected in Franny & Zooey) has the public been so exposed to the idea of the bodhisattva. • • • New elsewhere on the musical spectrum is Blue Buddha, led by tenor saxophonist Louie Belogenis, an active Buddhist for four decades. At times recalling the “free” and “spiritual” jazz that John Coltrane produced in his last years, all the band’s song titles are dharmic references, like “Wrathful Compassion” and “Truth of Cessation.” Do such nods make these albums Dharma-Burgers? No, this is art, worthy of your attention and maybe your dollars. As opposed to this issue’s ‘Burger, below. • • • Film lovers, Buddhist- leaning and otherwise, noted with reverence the November pass- ing of Melissa Mathison. You know her work: she wrote the scripts for The Black Stallion and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (which earned her an Oscar nomination), and also for Kundun, Martin Scorcese’s meditative biopic about the 14th Dalai Lama. That assignment marked the beginning of Mathison’s friendship with His Holiness, and also of her dedicated work for the Tibetan cause; she eventu- ally became a board member of the International Campaign for Tibet. Steven Spielberg recalled his colleague by saying she “had a heart that shined with generosity and love and burned as bright as the heart she gave E.T.” ♦ LION’S ROAR | MARCH 2016 18 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE