Dangerous Compassions


I found this guy on youtube who is a Buddhist monk who does covers.  I heard “Thuderstruck” first, and I love what he’s doing.

My first listen, I didn’t even understand he was saying Thunderstruck.  It was fun, the second hearing, to realize his Sunderstruck was Thunderstruck.  I didn’t know the ACDC song.

Then I listened to more of his songs.  My socks were knocked off by “Yellow Submarine.”  Something special happens at the end, when it goes sublime and almost tantric.  He does something new.

Second time hearing this monk’s cover of “Yellow Submarine,” I realized he might not know much English.  He sings the words in the verses as sounds, not words, much like I sing Bengali.  I know a few words, but mostly I sing the words as sounds.  That was another pleasure of hearing it, the beauty of error.


I used to be married before.  Shocking, I know.  That white guy was a Buddhist–he did Soto Zen.  Well, perhaps you remember that guy from the early years of dangerous compassions.  Also there were some poems.

So yeah I think this cover singing monk is Soto but Japanese style.  It’s different, as practiced here vs there.   But I remember the rakusus.

In the videos, I see the zendo; I drool with some kind of zendo lust.  God, they are so beautiful.  The spacious orderly calm, with a sliding door.  I remember zendos I’ve been inside and how I felt, that use of space so comforting, empty.


What’s thrilling to me about this monk is how he is singing a song totally inappropriate for the context.  But I think he’s accessing the power of the song, and then using that power for his own valid purposes.

The ones where he meditates for two or three minutes, after he sings, I really get the feeling–he is overjoyed by the song.  Then during the brief meditation afterward, he pulls that joy deep inside himself.  And the joy nourishes him, in his spiritual practice, maybe bathing his internal organs in bliss.

He’s a good example for us, meditating, and we can appreciate all of that–the monk, the song, the gorgeous zendo, the power nestled inside the song, the way he’s found to nourish himself, skillfully.

“He’s a genius,” I said to Ming, as we watched some videos together.  I had never fully grasped Queen’s “We Will Rock you.”  I showed Ming the Queen version too, so he could hear the electric guitar, and told him about Freddy Mercury being thought gay a lot, but he had a longterm lady also.

It was fun.  Thank you to Ming for being willing to hear what I want to share.  I love you.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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