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Thread: Herbie Hancock on his belief in Buddhism

  1. #1
    Registered User Bluebrew's Avatar
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    Herbie Hancock on his belief in Buddhism

    I am not big on organized religion but I thought this was a pretty interesting article from Herbie Hancock.

    That was totally new to me. Because, to me, the idea of religion was always that you had to believe in it for it to work. But then I thought, Wait a minute. Gravity works whether you believe in it or not. And then, Should religion be weaker than natural science? And he said, "This religion is really based on cause and effect and actual proof." So I said, "Well, I have nothing to lose. Sure, Iíll check it out."

    more at this link


    http://www.beliefnet.com/story/225/story_22533_1.html

  2. #2
    fed up jonesy's Avatar
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    Very interesting - thanks, Bluebrew.

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    Hater of Jazz Snobbery Pie-eyed blue's Avatar
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    Yes, interesting read, thanks.

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    Player to be named later duaneiac's Avatar
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    I was wondering if there would ever be a discussion about the Buddhist nature of Hancock's Grammy winning album. He, Wayne Shorter, and Tina Turner are all Buddhists (I think all of the Nichiren school) and Leonard Cohen spent quite a while living in a Zen monastery. There must be some Buddhist connection, some Buddhist influence on the music.

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    Registered User Bluebrew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by duaneiac View Post
    I was wondering if there would ever be a discussion about the Buddhist nature of Hancock's Grammy winning album. He, Wayne Shorter, and Tina Turner are all Buddhists (I think all of the Nichiren school) and Leonard Cohen spent quite a while living in a Zen monastery. There must be some Buddhist connection, some Buddhist influence on the music.

    I can't comment on that particular album but my wife is a Buddhist by birth, She is Japanese and her mother belonged to the Nichiren sect. When the war came my mother-in-law became a member of Soka Gakkai because this branch opposed the war. Co-founder and head of the group Josei Toda was imprisoned because of his outspoken ant-war speech. But mainstream Nichiren shu became the military government's national religion. A brief history can be found here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nichiren_Buddhism

    My wife tells me that all of the Japanese Buddhist sects use use chanting (okyo) as a means of prayer. The musicality of the chant is important in the individual's connection with "the universe" for lack of a better translation. That is to say "sound" is important. The Zen school uses both meditation (Meiso) and chanting.

    I was once at my brother-in-law's house when they had a "prayer meeting" (again for lack of a better expression) and I was lying down in another room. i had a terrible stomache and a severe case of the runs. After one hour of listening to this chant my stomach was better and he diarrhea was cured and I am not a believer. So you can see the power of sound when it is channeled into something positive. I believe we can do this through our playing but that's just me. Anyhow if you want to listen to the musicality of these chants from all over the traditional Buddhist world here is a good place to here examples.
    http://www.buddhanet.net/audio-chant.htm

    Of course we have the same thing in our own religions but it ha become lost. Chanting helps also to clear the mind so you can open channels to other levels of existence or thought. Just the simple repetition of a prayer. So then if you are Catholic...what about your recitation of the "Hail Mary". Saint Teresa of Avila talks about the meaning of prayer in her writings and it is exactly what the Eastern religions say about the subject. Her ideas were prohibited to the general congregation until only a few decades ago when the "Index" was dropped.

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    I am not a buddhist but I chanted once with Mike Clark and Larry Coryell and found it to be very uplifting......I find myself resorting to Hail Mary's at 37,000 feet in the airplane when it gets really choppy....

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    Registered User Valerie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by duaneiac View Post
    I was wondering if there would ever be a discussion about the Buddhist nature of Hancock's Grammy winning album. He, Wayne Shorter, and Tina Turner are all Buddhists (I think all of the Nichiren school) and Leonard Cohen spent quite a while living in a Zen monastery. There must be some Buddhist connection, some Buddhist influence on the music.
    the only connection i know about is that i was instrumental (pardon the pun) in introducing herbie, wayne and tina to the practice! believe it or not!

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    Registered User Bluebrew's Avatar
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    If you'd like to see the power that these chants convey here are two examples- Loop them each to be continuous and just relax and listen to them

    http://www.buddhanet.net/filelib/mp3/nam_myoho.mp3

    http://www.buddhanet.net/filelib/mp3/nichiren_gong.mp3

  9. #9
    Heuristic of the Mystic CoyotePalace's Avatar
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    Don Cherry's Brown Rice and Relativity Suite albums are greatly influenced by Buddhist chanting and incorporated into a jazz setting. I would highly recommend both of these recordings...they are my personal favorites of Don Cherry discography.

  10. #10
    Heuristic of the Mystic CoyotePalace's Avatar
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    A powerful recording of Buddhist monks.


  11. #11
    Registered User Bluebrew's Avatar
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    Here is another form of Chant that is especially important this week. Diana Navarro is the primer "Saetera" today. The Saeta is a Christian chant from Southern Spain that is sung during Easter week. It has it's origins in the music of the Spanish Sephards, Moors and the Gregorian Chant as it was sung in Spain.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaRTfn1wJws

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    Nichiren Buddhism

    I don't mean to throw a wet blanket on the proceedings, but I had always considered Buddhism to be open and tolerant, more so than our Christian denominations.
    I was disappointed upon checking out Nichiren Buddhism back in the 90's that it considers itself the only "true" Buddhism. To me, this is sort of like a Western-style form of "fundamentalist" Buddhism.
    I listened to a talk from one of the leaders, who put-down Zen as "demonic", and that's when I decided to leave it alone.
    They deem as inauthentic all forms of Buddhism which came before, including Tibetan and Zen, and all Chinese forms.
    It is exclusively Japanese, ascribing significance to Nichiren's geographical location in Japan, and the gohonzon-object itself.
    Nichiren himself was a controversial figure who was punished for being generally intolerant of other sects, and who stirred up trouble in this way, raising the ire of the authorities. He avoided beheading when a total eclipse of the sun occurred at the moment of his execution.
    There was, at one time, a controversy within the sect itself as to the authenticity of the "gohonzon", which is an inscribed object made by Nichiren himself, of which two exist. So this sect is fighting within itself for being the "one true Buddhism."
    This whole line of thinking seems counter to what Buddhism should be: open and tolerant, and inclusive. It seems that Nichiren is a peculiarly Japanese form of Buddhism, satisfying some sort of post-war desire for order.

    I'm all for chanting, as Bluebrew mentioned.
    The Nichiren chant of "Nom-Myoho-Renge-Kyo", however, is part of the dogma that the Lotus Sutra, through Nichiren, is the only path to enlightenment. This idea is continued during the longer liturgical chant from the Lotus Sutra.

    I believe I will stick with "OM" as my chant.

    Does anybody have an update on this? Has Nichiren Buddhism reformed any of its rigid beliefs?
    "Once I smoked a fine cigar in a park on a sunny summer afternoon, no one around except the squirrels, when a strange woman began marching toward me. She glared like some savage librarian and ordered me in no uncertain terms to put my stogie out. I refused."
    Ů John Kass in The Chicago Tribune

    "Let knowledge grow from more to more,
    But more of reverence in us dwell;
    That mind and soul, according well,
    May make one music as before..."
    -Alfred Lord Tennyson

  13. #13
    Registered User Valerie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Robinson View Post
    I don't mean to throw a wet blanket on the proceedings, but I had always considered Buddhism to be open and tolerant, more so than our Christian denominations.
    I was disappointed upon checking out Nichiren Buddhism back in the 90's that it considers itself the only "true" Buddhism. To me, this is sort of like a Western-style form of "fundamentalist" Buddhism.
    I listened to a talk from one of the leaders, who put-down Zen as "demonic", and that's when I decided to leave it alone.
    They deem as inauthentic all forms of Buddhism which came before, including Tibetan and Zen, and all Chinese forms.
    It is exclusively Japanese, ascribing significance to Nichiren's geographical location in Japan, and the gohonzon-object itself.
    Nichiren himself was a controversial figure who was punished for being generally intolerant of other sects, and who stirred up trouble in this way, raising the ire of the authorities. He avoided beheading when a total eclipse of the sun occurred at the moment of his execution.
    There was, at one time, a controversy within the sect itself as to the authenticity of the "gohonzon", which is an inscribed object made by Nichiren himself, of which two exist. So this sect is fighting within itself for being the "one true Buddhism."
    This whole line of thinking seems counter to what Buddhism should be: open and tolerant, and inclusive. It seems that Nichiren is a peculiarly Japanese form of Buddhism, satisfying some sort of post-war desire for order.

    I'm all for chanting, as Bluebrew mentioned.
    The Nichiren chant of "Nom-Myoho-Renge-Kyo", however, is part of the dogma that the Lotus Sutra, through Nichiren, is the only path to enlightenment. This idea is continued during the longer liturgical chant from the Lotus Sutra.

    I believe I will stick with "OM" as my chant.

    Does anybody have an update on this? Has Nichiren Buddhism reformed any of its rigid beliefs?
    a lot of what you stated above is why i left the organization many years ago after practicing for over 10 years. the study of Buddhism still attracts me but the way it is played out through the organization is a total turn-off to me. Just to clarify, the chant is actually "Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo".

  14. #14
    Future Primitive Noj's Avatar
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    Ah, organized religion--the exclusive province of people who have it all figured out and who know they are better than everyone else.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noj View Post
    Ah, organized religion--the exclusive province of people who have it all figured out and who know they are better than everyone else.
    But you and I, Noj - we're above all that.
    "Once I smoked a fine cigar in a park on a sunny summer afternoon, no one around except the squirrels, when a strange woman began marching toward me. She glared like some savage librarian and ordered me in no uncertain terms to put my stogie out. I refused."
    Ů John Kass in The Chicago Tribune

    "Let knowledge grow from more to more,
    But more of reverence in us dwell;
    That mind and soul, according well,
    May make one music as before..."
    -Alfred Lord Tennyson

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