Enthusiasts Dharma: Buddhism and Death Metal
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Always looking for a different band? Then listen to Dharma: Heavy Death Metal with a Buddhist nun.
Always looking for a slightly different band? Then listen to Dharma: Heavy Death Metal with a Buddhist nun.
At first sight the usual Death Metal stage scenario: corpsepaint, grim reaper robes and artificial blood. But a band member doesn't seem to fit in at all. A Buddhist nun with Dharma stands on the stage with a shaved head and a traditional orange robe. And Miao Ben (50) is actually a member of the Taiwanese Buddhist death metal band.
"You really shouldn't have fallen on your mouth to explain this cooperation to traditionally minded people," Miao Ben told. She works for a Taiwanese charity that supports children in Africa. “When I first heard metal, it was tough. But after doing a few concerts, I discovered these wonderful melodies. And I was touched by the band's passion. ”
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Miao Ben is much more than just“ decoration ”or the cultural-religious addition to the sound of Dharma. Sometimes she strikes ritual bells, sometimes she recites from documents before the three guitarists take the stage. The contact to band founder (and drum teacher) Jack Tung came through a former classmate, as the nun reports. She joined Dharma to use metal to teach Buddhism to younger people.
Named Tung started in 2017 by visiting as many of the 4,000 or so Buddhist organizations as possible in Taiwan, including the four largest. He wanted to make sure his plan to combine Buddhism with metal wouldn't upset anyone. “I was afraid they would think we were doing something wrong or wrong. But in the end everyone gave their approval, ”says Tung. “We choose chants with meaning and chase away evil with loud noise.”
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lead guitarist and co-composer Andy Lin grew up in a Buddhist temple. His father was very devout, and as a child he had to recite many scriptures. This makes it an important cornerstone in terms of lyrics today. The only non-native Taiwanese is the Canadian singer Joe Henley, who recently converted from Christianity to Buddhism. He moved to Taiwan in 2005 and played with Tung in two bands, both of which are currently inactive.
In order to be able to authentically reproduce the texts and messages of Dharma, all of which are written in Sanskrit, Henley studied with a monk for four months. "Fortunately, they are all mantras, so they are usually quite short." And the song, the lyrics of which consists of a list of 84 names, he growls. On the positive side: Dharma won't run out of texts anytime soon, after all there are lots of sutras. Unfortunately the debut album is still a long time coming.
Dharma had their first live performance in October 2019, and due to COVID-19, the band has only played four concerts with 200 to 900 spectators since then. Of course, Chthonic boss and MP Freddy Lim also became aware of Dharma. “Buddhist chants and heavy metal go well together musically. Both hold the same key for a long time. This is exactly what can free the listeners from aggression and put them in a peaceful mood. ”
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