Adam Yauch, a.k.a. MCA, was an Artmonk; Beastie Boys’ “Bodhisattva Vow”

Posted by on May 4, 2012 in Otherhood, Vigils | No Comments
Adam Yauch, a.k.a. MCA, was an Artmonk; Beastie Boys’ “Bodhisattva Vow”

[update: good context for this, a Salon post on Yauch, “From brat to activist: Adam Yauch’s transformation from hooligan to human rights figure paralleled a generation’s coming-of-age,” here.]

I’ve started to notice recently how the vows we’ve taken this year (of gratitude, fidelity, and resourcefulness), as well as the midnight Vigils Ritual we’re investigating as part of the Monastic Cycle, have started infiltrating my everyday experience, more often than not without any intention on my part. As a creative interpretation of Vigils, we’re spending a lot of time thinking about cheery subjects like the void, darkness, death… This last one in particular seems to keep find ways of hitting home.

Today was no exception, as I heard news of the death this morning of Adam Yauch, a.k.a. MCA (one of the founders of the Beastie Boys). Now, I am a fan of the Beastie Boys, but not a die-hard. It’s impacting me more than I would have expected. Perhaps it’s the Beastie Boys song “Bodhisattva Vow,” which significantly changed my view of the group, and of the modes in which sacred ideas can be transmitted, when I first heard it:

For the rest of my lifetimes and
Even beyond I vow to do my best to do no harm
And in times of doubt i can think on the dharma
And the enlightened ones who’ve graduated Samsara

(Full lyrics below)

Yauch was a practicing Buddhist and a humanitarian:

“In addition to his career with the Beastie Boys, Yauch was heavily involved in the movement to free Tibet. A founder of the Milarepa Fund, Yauch was instrumental in the first Tibetan Freedom Concert in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park 1996, which drew 100,000 people – the largest U.S. benefit concert since 1985’s Live Aid. After 9/11, Yauch and the Beastie Boys organized New Yorkers Against Violence, a concert benefit for some of the victims least likely to receive help from elsewhere. ” (Rolling Stone)

Anyway, in honor of Yauch, here’s “Bodhisattva Vow”:

 

As I develop the awakened mind
I praise the buddhas as they shine
I bow before you as I travel my path
To join your ranks, I make my full time task

For the sake of all beings I seek
The enlightened mind that I know I’ll reap
Respect to Shantideva and all the others
Who brought down the dharma for the sisters and brothers

I give thanks for this world as a place to learn
And for this human body that I know I’ve earned
And my deepest thanks to all sentient beings
For without them there would be no place to learn what I’m seeing

There’s nothing here thats not been said before
But I put it down now so that I’ll be sure
To solidify my own views
And I’ll be glad if it helps anyone else out too

If others disrespect me and give me flack
I’ll stop and think before I react
Knowing that they’re going through insecure stages
I’ll take the opportunity to exercise patience

I’ll see it as a chance to help the other person
Nip it in the bud before it can worsen
A chance for me to be strong and sure
As I think on the Buddhas who have come before

As I praise and respect the good they’ve done
Knowing only love can conquer hate in every situation
We need other people in order to create
The circumstances for the learning that we’re here to generate

Situations that bring up our deepest fears
So that we can work to release them until they’ve cleared
Therefore, it only make sense
To thank our enemies despite their intent

The Bodhisattva path is one of power and strength
A strength from within to go the length
Seeing others are as important as myself
I strive for a happiness of mental wealth

With the interconnectedness that we share as one
Every action that we take affects everyone
So in deciding for what a situation calls
There is a path for the good of all

I try to make my every action for that highest good
With the altruistic wish to achieve buddahood
So I pledge here before everyone who’s listening
To make my every action for the good of all beings

For the rest of my lifetimes and
Even beyond I vow to do my best to do no harm
And in times of doubt i can think on the dharma
And the enlightened ones who’ve graduated Samsara

 

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