Sunday, January 06, 2008

Buddhism Through Vandalism

Scanning the blogs at some length while waiting out the storms, I come across the Hoodie Monk.

The Hoodie Monk apparently lives one jump ahead of the law, in Japan, where his practice is tagging. You heard it right: his practice is graffiti. He tells us:

"I was the first non-Japanese to be given Dharma Transmission in the Omuro School of Shingon Buddhism."

Did that include a spray can?

I have seen this sort of thing before, but never so well-documented. In Pasadena, California, somebody started stenciling the Dalai Lama's picture up and down Colorado Boulevard. He (or she) even stenciled it right on the sidewalk, where shoes could walk and dogs could do what dogs enjoy doing. So, that leads us into a Seven Pillars of Wisdom-bionomic-type musing on the karmic benefit of seeing an icon of His Holiness on the sidewalk versus the karmic consequence of placing said icon there in the first place.

This is shaped by our old friend Mr. Intention again, now isn't it? Except that now he isn't paving the road to Hell, he's merely stenciling icons on said road in the hopes of raising public awareness of His Holiness through guerrilla art. Maybe it won't catch on like Yanqui Go Home! but it still stands a fair chance of reaching at least one person with a sympathetic mind.

Before you throw up your hands in horror, go take a stroll through Tibet. Seems like tagging for tantra has an old, established precedence. Taki 187 had nothing on OM MANI PADME HUM.

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