.... the irony of seeing a monk, robe and all, beatboxing ...
July 20, 2020 3:51 PM   Subscribe

Yogetsu Akasaka is a Japanese Zen Buddhist monk who creates music for meditations. But not the kind most people are familiar with. In videos uploaded on YouTube, he stands in the middle of a white background, grabs a mic, and beatboxes to a loop machine.
posted by hanov3r (17 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Splunge at 5:28 PM on July 20

Not irony; that was exquisite.
posted by heatherlogan at 5:49 PM on July 20 [1 favorite]

Absolutely beautiful!
posted by mittens at 5:54 PM on July 20

Yeah, you can drop into pretty much any moment in his videos and feel the rest of the world dropping away. In a good way.
posted by vverse23 at 6:38 PM on July 20 [1 favorite]

A few other musician monks in Japan have been cropping up on my radar recently (one, two, three).

I guess it has something to do with the younger generation of monks being tasked with taking over temples, as well as a need to find new and unique ways of generating income in areas where there are fewer and fewer local residents to support their neighborhood temple. I've seen some similar non-musical examples too like my local zen temple, which was recently crowdfunding to convert one of their main hall rooms into a matcha cafe.

While it's a little sad to see traditional religious groups having to side hustle, there have been some interesting cultural juxtapositions coming out of it.
posted by p3t3 at 7:06 PM on July 20 [4 favorites]

Wow, this is really good
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:12 PM on July 20

Obligatory Matisyahu.
posted by Cardinal Fang at 12:15 AM on July 21

Monks in what is now Germany used to brew beer for their own use, but also sell it on the side to the public for some income. I'm no scholar of monasticism, but selling crafted goods of one kind or another has been a part of monk tradition, at least in Western cultures.
posted by SoberHighland at 5:01 AM on July 21 [4 favorites]

Worth listenting to: 薬師寺寛邦 キッサコ Kanho Yakushiji Kissaquo performing Heart Sutra (cho ver.)(2020 mix.) at Ikkyu-ji Temple,Kyoto,Japan
posted by sebastienbailard at 5:49 AM on July 21 [3 favorites]

I saw "Japanese Zen Buddhist monk who creates music for meditations" and thought immediately of the Komusō of the Edo period.

"Moment of Zen" is perhaps one of the most-misused phrases in modern American English. The video in OP is the real thing, and I thank you for it.
posted by Aardvark Cheeselog at 6:25 AM on July 21 [2 favorites]

"Moment of Zen" is perhaps one of the most-misused phrases in modern American English.

I blame Boing Boing, who did a lot to push its usage as "something kind of interesting on the Internet".
posted by thelonius at 7:36 AM on July 21

but selling crafted goods of one kind or another has been a part of monk tradition, at least in Western cultures.

The Carthusian monks produce Chartreuse.
Sadly, the Benedictine monks do not produce Benedictine; that was 19th century fake news.
posted by Cardinal Fang at 8:13 AM on July 21 [1 favorite]

hahahah i feel like such a hater. Why is he wearing okesa. I'm glad to see he mostly doesn't wear okesa while he's doing these. Why all these sonic meditations in the silent illumination lineage. What in the mercifully non-constant, non-abiding hell, people

I also don't prefer this delivery of the Heart Sutra, I'm used to a more intense delivery like Taisen Deshimaru and sangha. Belting the last part out in particular, which translates roughly to "Going beyond, going beyond, always going further beyond, awakening, woo hoo" feels, ime, real good. The soft delivery doesn't do it for me personally.

Lots of monks and priests and heavy Zen lay people have a musical component to their ways tho. part of a priesthood training in Soto Zen includes musical and chanting training. There seems to be a cross-training aspect to the breath control required in chanting that helps with meditation and general awakeness studies.

Western hemisphere music priests off the top of my head are Ross Bolleter music, zen and Jogen Saztberg. And given that Jogen's a heavy dude and also into this polyphonic electronic listening thing, perhaps it is up to me to manifest the voidness potential in walls of feedback and D-beat.
posted by nixon's meatloaf at 11:11 AM on July 21 [4 favorites]

I’m more in a Theravada tradition so now I want to hear a beatboxing chant in the Pali language.
posted by matildaben at 2:55 PM on July 21 [2 favorites]

beatbox the dhammapada
posted by nixon's meatloaf at 4:48 PM on July 21 [1 favorite]

I feel that MCA from the Beastie Boys would’ve enjoyed this, despite being a proponent of Tibetan Buddhism.
posted by chronic sublime at 4:20 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]

Ya I prefer my heart sutras plainly chanted. Hard to get in to form is empty / emptiness is form with too much um-ch um-ch going on.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 11:00 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]

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