Wednesday, March 21, 2018

What extreme music has to do with Buddhism

Pfc. Sandoval, Pat Macpherson, Dhr. Seven, Seth Auberon, Crystal Quintero, Wisdom Quarterly

WARNING: Disturbing images and yelling! Can women rock? Just ask Alissa White-Gluz, THE AGONIST, "And Their Eulogies Sang Me to Sleep"
Dimmu Borgir's Norwegian death metal from Viking urges, "Progenies of the Great Apocalypse"

What in the heaven does Slayer -- or any of that filthy music labelled "heavy metal, "punk," and "extreme rock" -- have to do with kind, peaceful Buddhism?

Slayer and the like have, to the personal taste of individuals, to do with fighting. It's not all organic peaches and vegan cream around here, sister. Is fighting a good attitude? In part it depends on what one is up against and choosing to take on. Addiction? Fight it. Living beings? Don't fight 'em.

British contribution to heavy music Cradle of Filth "Gabrielle"

Original grindcore masterpiece, Cannibal Corpse's "Hammer Smashed Face"

This is not about fighting in the literal sense of war, violence, or cops shooting people. Consider the bigger picture -- fighting for liberation, freedom, knowledge, wisdom, to overcome the mental defilements and Five Hindrances to meditation. Yes, not everybody will fight. Not everybody takes being a spiritual "warrior" as a contest.

But some do. Striving, seeking, endeavoring, putting forth viriya (virile effort) is one way to go, not the way that can take one all the way there. But it can go a long way for a start.

WARNING: Extreme violence and brutality! Title track from Slayer's latest album "Repentless"
(American Hardcore soundtrack) How did extreme music begin? Seven years of early punk!

What was the Warrior Prince Siddhartha doing when he shook off the comforts and delights of a sheltered life to go out and seek his Quest for Enlightenment? He wasn't gently letting go. He was shirking, throwing, casting off the burden.

So anyone who says Buddhism's peace has only to do with lovey-dovey tender mental activity has not been paying attention. This is the Middle Way that avoids extremes, sometimes going to extremes to find the middle. Yes?

(Avenged Sevenfold) What's the point of this music? Bigger mosh pits!

Who's to say what counts as an "austerity" when all we do is live in luxury? Eat only one meal a day! Pishah, impossible! It's totally possible. Sleep sitting up? Wear stitched castaway rags? Shave your head? Stay up striving for stillness? The Buddha enumerated "13 Sane Ascetic Practices" or dhutangas which are hardcore and not at all easy. They are severe hardships.

Some are not necessary. No one does all 13, and no one needs to. But some are so valuable, that they have become incumbent on all monastics and novices (samaneras and samaneris). Ever hear the horrible-to-American-ears word "jihad"? How about the horrible-to-others word "crusade"?

KLOS FM's Full Metal Jackie interviews Alissa White-Gluz

What does it really mean at a deep level? It isn't fighting others. It's fighting oneself, overcoming oneself, taking the reins and guiding oneself to freedom. As the Buddha and other sages have said, What does it profit a person to conquer the whole world if one loses him or herself in the process?

Better the one who conquers oneself than the one who conquers everyone else. And listening to Slayer, Carcass, Cannibal Corpse, Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, or any of the groups that make it to may serve as inspiration or motivation to keep up the good fight when engaged in combat for the war within.

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