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학술저널

Country and Eastern: Music, the Internet, and the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association

The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas (万佛城) in Ukiah, California is one of the best-known institutions of orthodox Chinese Buddhism in the US. Founded in 1974 by the venerable Chan master Hsuan Hua, CTTB is famous for the study of and strict adherence to Vinaya precepts, as well as for its programs for spreading Buddhist teachings to non-Chinese audiences. In some cases, these two goals appear at odds with each other. For example, most monks and nuns at CTTB adhere to the precept requiring that they refrain from performing or listening to music, but senior monk Reverend Heng Sure has found that music is a very appealing and valuable way to help Americans connect with Buddhist teachings. Reverend Heng Sure, who was a folk singer prior to his ordination, plays guitar and banjo and sings what he calls “Country and Eastern Music.” His flexible use of music allows him to spread Buddhist teachings among people accustomed to engaging with religion through participatory singing. This familiar medium facilitates the teaching of unfamiliar or difficult Buddhist concepts, such as leaving home life and the transfer of merit. American Chinese Buddhist songs also resonate well with the progressive liberal Americans most likely to be drawn to Buddhism. In many cases, these individuals are accustomed to using music as a vehicle for political activism, and Reverend Heng Sure s musical style and lyrical content tend to resemble that of folk protest songs of the 1960s. It remains to be seen, however, if new generations of American Chinese Buddhists will carry on Reverend Heng Sure s work and continue to update the style of American Chinese Buddhist songs to appeal more to younger listeners.

Introduction

Precepts and Music in the DRBA

Buddhist Music and New Media

Monasticism and Family Life: “Yashodara”

Dedication of Merit and Interfaith Outreach

Music and Political Outreach: “Here Comes that Rainbow Again”

Conclusion

References

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