MCA RIP

I didn’t hear about Adam Yauch (aka MCA) of the Beastie Boys’ death until a day or maybe two after it happened. But I was really sorry to hear that he’d passed away. I hope he made it to whatever bardo he was aiming for. Personally, if I were a Tibetan Buddhist, I’d aim for the Bridgette Bardo!

Ar! Ar! Ar!!

The fact that Adam Yauch was a Buddhist is something that has been brought to my attention by well-meaning people for years now. “Do you know the guy from the Beastie Boys is a Buddhist?” they’d say. Yes. As a matter of fact, I do. Thank you. Now that he was a Buddhist instead of is a Buddhist, I suppose I’ll keep hearing it, but phrased in past tense. Which is fine. I don’t mind. It’s just kind of funny what little Buddhist factoids get pointed out to me repeatedly.

I was never a huge Beastie Boys fan. I liked them. But I never followed their career or bought any of their records except for the greatest hits compilation Sounds of Science. And even that I bought used years after it came out.

I was pretty excited, though, when they came out with their Japanese monster movie inspired video for the song Intergalactic. I can even tell you where exactly they got some of the ideas. The scene where you see the monster’s foot crash through a miniature building from the inside is from something Tsuburaya Productions did a lot beginning around the time of the Ultraman Taro TV series in 1973-74. The octopus head monster appears to be inspired by Emperor Guillotine from Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot (by Toei, not Tsuburaya Pro). I was working for Tsuburaya at the time the video came out and tried desperately to get our management to understand what that meant for us and how we might capitalize on it. But to no avail.

I know that Adam Yauch put his Buddhist faith in song in a tune called Boddhisattva Vow. But I never thought that was one of their best. It was too self-conscious and obvious for me. Not that I think it’s a bad sentiment or anything. It just lacked any subtlety and it wasn’t even a very catchy piece of music. Fight for Your Right to Party was a lot more fun.

When  Fight for Your Right to Party came out I remember thinking, “Wow! These guys stole the Beastie Boys’ name!” Because I was aware of a NYC based hardcore band called the Beastie Boys from a couple years before that. At the time it didn’t occur to me that it could possibly be the same guys. What self-respecting hardcore band would do a song like that? Then I found out it was the same guys and I got the idea that the song was a joke. Once you know that it’s hilarious.

I don’t know much about Adam Yauch. But it seems like he saw some of the same things in punkrock that I did and saw the connections between punk and Buddhism. In that sense we shared something. And he was the bass player for the Beastie Boys when they played their own instruments.

A little before Adam Yauch died, Howard Hutchings of the Kent, Ohio band Hyper As Hell died. We (Zero Defex) played a tribute show in his memory last Saturday. Howard, Adam Yauch and I were all born the same year, so it was a reminder to me that we all are gonna pass away one of these days. But Nishijima Roshi said, well into his 80s, that he was always happy to wake up each morning one notice, “Wow! I’m still alive!” Crum the Cat always checks on me in the mornings to make sure I’m still alive to feed him by biting my toes.

In the comments section Matt from Houston said…
Brad: the thing is that to a lot of people a little younger than you, MCA demonstrated very publicly that you could be a dope musician, be irreverent, use naughty words, love punk and hip hop and still be a committed Buddhist focused on doing lots of right in the world. I know that that’s old news to you (and, to some extent, the Brad Warner Brand), but it was a pretty important revelation to a lot of us kids.

He also demonstrated very publicly that you have no obligation to be the asshole you were when you were a 20-year-old asshole. I know that without his example my mind might not have opened to the Dharma. So there are a bunch of us who owe the dude some gratitude…AND THAT’S RIIIIIIIGHT.

46 Responses

Page 1 of 1
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 8, 2012 at 10:16 am | |

    my name is MCA and i can do the Jerry Lewis….

  2. Matt from Houston
    Matt from Houston May 8, 2012 at 10:59 am | |

    Brad: the thing is that to a lot of people a little younger than you, MCA demonstrated very publicly that you could be a dope musician, be irreverent, use naughty words, love punk and hip hop and still be a committed Buddhist focused on doing lots of right in the world. I know that that's old news to you (and, to some extent, the Brad Warner Brand), but it was a pretty important revelation to a lot of us kids.

    He also demonstrated very publicly that you have no obligation to be the asshole you were when you were a 20-year-old asshole. I know that without his example my mind might not have opened to the Dharma. So there are a bunch of us who owe the dude some gratitude…AND THAT'S RIIIIIIIGHT.

  3. Blake
    Blake May 8, 2012 at 11:00 am | |

    Crum is checking to see whether he will be eating cat food or human.

  4. Matt from Houston
    Matt from Houston May 8, 2012 at 11:01 am | |

    Oops, meant to type: "(and is, to some extent, the Brad Warner Brand)"

  5. Mysterion
    Mysterion May 8, 2012 at 11:02 am | |

    "It was too self-conscious and obvious for me."

    yep.

    Did you notice that there was a big ugly wart on my nose? Why don't people with big ugly warts on their noses ask THAT question… just wondering.

    This morning… (I'll blog about it later)

    Brad, did you know that Buddha wasn't a Buddhist?

    LOL

    chas

  6. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 8, 2012 at 12:43 pm | |

    I did notice the big ugly wart mysterion. I thought maybe you didn't want to talk about it.

  7. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 8, 2012 at 2:38 pm | |

    Mysterion… Where is the SUN!!!??!!!

  8. Mysterion
    Mysterion May 8, 2012 at 2:54 pm | |

    It is with great sadness, the statement reads, that we confirm Adam MCA Yauch, founding member of Beastie Boys… passed away… after a near-three-year battle with cancer. He was 47 years old.

    47!

    Mein Gott im Himmel, I am close to 65!

    Some might ask: "What did he do wrong?"

    But that's the wrong question. A far better question is: "What did he do that was beneficial?"

    From my reading of the news clips, apparently he tried to do a lot than would benefit others.

    You know the old saying:

    "Only the good die young."

    Quem di diligunt, adolescens moritur.

    Whosoever gods love die young.

    Also translated as, "Only the good die young."

    This the translation into Latin from Greek by Plautus — of an utterance of Menander, a second-century (BCE) Greek Buddhist.

    Is it full circle, or is it one more turning of the wheel?

  9. Mysterion
    Mysterion May 8, 2012 at 3:16 pm | |

    Anonymous said…
    "Mysterion… Where is the SUN!!!??!!!"

    goto THIS posting…

    scroll down to the picture with the green background just above the caption: "Above, Semetic gods, click on the picture for larger view."

    click on the picture with a green background for larger view

    at the lower right, observe "Shamash" – the sun god of the not-so-ancient Israelite tribe.

    This god, like so many others, was borrowed – in this case from Akkad.

    The Code of Hammurabi was written in Akkadian – not Babylonian.

    The Amarna letters of Akhenaten (Moses) [a.k.a. Amenhotep IV] were written in Akkadian – not Egyptian.

    Today, the sun resides in Beth Shemesh or House of the Sun.

    either "A" or "E" works in Shamash/Shemesh because Israel had no vowels. they had to "buy" one, and you know…

  10. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 8, 2012 at 3:55 pm | |

    Mysterion, where is the House of the Sun?

  11. PhilBob-SquareHead
    PhilBob-SquareHead May 8, 2012 at 4:04 pm | |

    "…you have no obligation to be the asshole you were when you were a 20-year-old asshole."

    NOW THAT"S ENLIGHTENMENT!!!!!

  12. john e mumbles
    john e mumbles May 8, 2012 at 4:10 pm | |

    I have been using a "koan" for awhile now that has proved very useful in almost every situation. I wanted to share it with all of you here that might want to try it:

    Maybe I'm wrong.

  13. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 8, 2012 at 4:36 pm | |

    Over/under for total number of Mysterion posts for this particular article: 17

  14. Anonymous #2
    Anonymous #2 May 8, 2012 at 4:54 pm | |

    mmmm… I'd put it more at 8.

  15. Anonymous #3
    Anonymous #3 May 8, 2012 at 5:40 pm | |

    He has three of the first fifteen (including this one). At that rate, he'd have twelve of the first sixty. Twenty-four of the first one-hundred-and-twenty.

    Give me the over.

  16. Anonymous #2
    Anonymous #2 May 8, 2012 at 5:43 pm | |

    I don't this this post is going to get so many comments. I think Brad is about to post a new one.

  17. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 8, 2012 at 5:45 pm | |

    http://translate.google.com/#la|en|Quem%20di%20diligunt%2C%20adolescens%20moritur

  18. Misha
    Misha May 8, 2012 at 6:55 pm | |

    How does one write a column about the passing of a rather extraordinary individual, and make the focus of the column oneself?

    Adam Yauch was really something of a Bodhisattva. He grew out of his adolescent punk roots into a music pioneer and film producer. Most notably, he supported well the cause of Tibetan freedom.

    There are posers, and there is the real deal. MCA is the real deal.

  19. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 8, 2012 at 6:57 pm | |

    Was

  20. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 8, 2012 at 7:02 pm | |

    Hey Brad I noticed you didn't respond or didn't see on the previous post about the commenter euthanizing their dog. I too was wondering how that works with the buddhist precepts and all. Thanks!

  21. Anonymous #73
    Anonymous #73 May 8, 2012 at 7:07 pm | |

    Brad posted this recently:

    "It's always sad when this happens. It seems like when you get a pet it's almost inevitable that you'll have to do this. My dad had several dogs sequentially throughout the years and I think every one of them had to be put to sleep in the end.

    Tim McCarthy, my first Zen teacher used to be an animal euthanasia technician. His policy was that he's never put down any animal that really didn't need to be put down. People sometimes bring their pets in for the most ridiculous reasons. Like they're just tired of having them or something. Tim took those dogs and cats home and tried to find them places to live.

    Yours is not a case like that. It sounds to me like your dog's situation is pretty desperate and there is little that can be done for him.

    When you do this, stay with the dog. Pet him. Be there.

    Your dog will always be part of this universe in every way that he is part of it right."

  22. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 8, 2012 at 7:11 pm | |

    I posted a while ago about my dog being Ill and having to put him to sleep. Well , the time came and I had make the decision to do it. It was not easy and never felt quite right. He was suffering although in good spirits he was unable to walk. My question is, where does one draw the line between compassion for a suffering animal and the first precept do not kill? I have reflected on this for quite some time and thought I might ask someone with a little more knowledge.

    Brad- your advise to pet him came to mind. And that I did. I was able to put him down at home with doctors that did house calls. So I did zazen for six straight hours in the same room with my dog before the doctors came and the event was very peaceful.
    Thanks for your help Brad. It really helped.

  23. Jeff Z.
    Jeff Z. May 8, 2012 at 7:17 pm | |

    Every time you drive a car you kill insects, Anonymous. It's not a question of never, ever killing.

    Encourage and cultivate life. There's your precept, friend.

    It's not a "thou shall not" anyway.

  24. Mysterion
    Mysterion May 8, 2012 at 9:08 pm | |

    Different Buddhist traditions adhere to different lists of precepts.

    Five Precepts – are not "thou shalt nots", but are training rules in order to live a better monastic life without worries.

    To refrain from taking life.
    (Many Buddhists eat killed animals but they let others bloody their hands with the slaughter)
    To refrain from taking that which is not freely given.
    (alms bowl, etc.)
    To refrain from sensual misconduct.
    (no visiting bare titty bars)
    To refrain from lying.
    (In response to a direct question – e.g. practice silence)
    To refrain from intoxicants which lead to loss of willpower.

    Many Buddhists drink SOME beer, wine, or sake (or the like).

    Buddhist Robes were once made with the discarded cloth in which the dead were wrapped up to the time of cremation. They washed the cloth before wearing it, naturally.

  25. Mysterion
    Mysterion May 8, 2012 at 9:27 pm | |

    Annoying Anonymous said…
    "Mysterion, where is the House of the Sun?"

    Tel Beth-Shemesh, a 7-acre mound*, is located 20 km west of Jerusalem.

    source

    *the "entire city" or large village is about the size of the "Median Size U.S. City Park."

  26. buddy
    buddy May 8, 2012 at 9:40 pm | |

    new zen blog, i like the cut of this guy's jib: http://nyoho.com/

  27. Khru
    Khru May 9, 2012 at 1:11 am | |

    Let the banjos play.

  28. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 9, 2012 at 3:54 am | |

    Mysterion,

    Jerusalem is located on the Earth, which is the third stone from the Sun, which is located in its house, which is 20 km west of Jerusalem.

    So, Jerualem is located 20 km west of itself, on the Earth which is located in itself, near the Sun which is located on the Earth.

    Clever Answer!

  29. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 9, 2012 at 4:19 am | |

    Every time you drive a car you kill insects, Anonymous. It's not a question of never, ever killing.

    Thats's Bullshit cop out.

    It's not same as injecting your dog with phenobarbital and a second injection to stop the heart.

    Friend my ass.

  30. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 9, 2012 at 5:30 am | |

    Stop driving!

  31. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 9, 2012 at 6:27 am | |

    We're at 5 Mysterion comments. I'm betting the max is 8 for this thread.

  32. Timmy Mac
    Timmy Mac May 9, 2012 at 8:07 am | |

    Something MCA wrote after the kerfluffle with The Prodigy: We are in the process of learning from our mistakes, and feel that some of the things we did in the past that we thought were a joke ended up having lasting negative effects.

    That's some pretty good dharma right there.

  33. just saying
    just saying May 9, 2012 at 8:15 am | |

    12 out of 33 comments has the word 'mysterion' in them.

    6 out of 33 comments has the word 'Brad' in them.

  34. alan sailer
    alan sailer May 9, 2012 at 8:45 am | |

    john e mumbles,

    Maybe I'm wrong.

    That is a great koan. I'll have to try it on for size.

    I still use Joko Becks "What is this?" and it is also wonderful.

    Cheers.

  35. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 9, 2012 at 8:56 am | |

    mysterion uses a similar Koan in almost every situation. Some of you might want to try it out. It is:

    You are Wrong.

  36. Mysterion
    Mysterion May 9, 2012 at 9:06 am | |

    You are wrong.

  37. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 9, 2012 at 9:33 am | |

    You are Wrong.

  38. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 9, 2012 at 9:59 am | |

    "It's not same as injecting your dog with phenobarbital and a second injection to stop the heart."

    Isn't it?

    You're creating different levels of killing? And it IS okay to kill some beings when you're proscribed from killing?

    Look, I'm just asking. I don't see what that guy wrote as a cop out at all. You have to be honest and open enough to face these kinds of issues without getting hot and pissy. Settle down and be with the issue.

  39. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 9, 2012 at 10:39 am | |

    I guess you get in your car with the intention , " Oh man I think I'll go kill some bugs today"

    Wake up and pull the shit wiping stick outa ya ass

  40. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 10, 2012 at 7:32 am | |

    Yeah, pull it out and whack Anonymous @ 10:39 AM with it.

  41. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 10, 2012 at 1:50 pm | |

    then stick it up the back up the ass of anonymous # 7:32 AM and make sure it's secure with some super glue ….come to think ouf it you probably won't need super glue because he most likely will enjoy it

  42. Dead Boys
    Dead Boys May 10, 2012 at 7:51 pm | |

    I wish I had a goal

  43. Michael Gibbs
    Michael Gibbs May 12, 2012 at 11:28 am | |

    I wrote a blog about Adam Yauch and his influence on me here.

    http://gibbits.blogspot.com/2012/05/adam-yauch-1964-2012.html

  44. visachris
    visachris May 16, 2012 at 1:18 am | |

    Your post is always quite good, learn a lot. I concern on wholesale ray ban sunglasses business, I would like to know more info about best ray ban sunglasses 2012 and cheap ray ban sunglasses $49.

  45. James Randall
    James Randall May 25, 2012 at 11:31 am | |

    couldn't agree more with what matt from houston said.

    r.i.p. MCA

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.