Beginnings of a Metal Manifesto: The Buddhist Connection

What is the meaning of a wrathful Buddha? We see all these wrathful images of Buddhas (gesturing around the temple). But in truth wrathful Buddhas have nine qualities. Their bodies are wrathful, heroic, and frightening. Their voices are laughing, threatening, and fierce. But mentally they are loving, peaceful, and powerful. Like all enlightened beings, their minds are peaceful, compassionate, joyful, and wise. If a being is wrathful on the outside and also angry in its heart, then it is a real monster — not a Buddha. Wrathful Buddhas look wrathful for a purpose: for pacifying, for taming negative forces.

[From Tulku Thondup’s Talk in India 2003]


SO, I’m thinking forward now. About my bigger piece. And how it will be about Metal (as in, Heavy Metal) and Buddhism (as in om mani padme hum). I struck upon this idea upon walking into a Buddhist monastery in Mongolia. I’d been in monasteries before, and had seen many images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. But this time was different.

//Went to find a good concise definition for Heavy Metal… ended up on an hour long trawl of Led to another look at Racist Music. Led to this post at my main blog: Hate Rock, Racism and Heavy Metal.

To be continued…

6 Replies to “Beginnings of a Metal Manifesto: The Buddhist Connection”

  1. Just stumbled on this article and thought you might be interested in my blog. I am a huge metal fan and have been a practicing Buddhist for a couple years now. Also I wrote and article for a friends site paralleling my life through metal and Buddhism. The link is

    Hope you are well and talk soon!

  2. Hello,
    I too (like others, i see here) am doing some curious research into Metal music and Buddhism. In fact, this is the first site that i’ve visited after a google search. I have recently been doing some reading on buddhism and I also have been an avid listener of heavy metal, death metal, and alot of the subgenres within the 2 (even though death metal is a subgenre of heavy metal, which comes from rock, and on and on)
    Anyway.. i found the quote you posted from the from Tulku Thondup’s Talk very interesting based on my experience as a metal fan and mucisian.

    the quote says “Wrathful Buddhas look wrathful for a purpose: for pacifying, for taming negative forces.” Now this is very intresting to me because as a lister of metal, specifically death metal, I am exposed to an array of styles that, even in the abscence of cliche satanic content, is very loud, agressive, violent in appearence, and just plain “heavy” by nature. Some people listen to this music to channel aggression and hate through words or sound in a specific direction. However, some (half of the time musicians, specifically) will appear to be agressiive on the outside but on the inside they are at peace.. or even in a state of mild bliss. Some guitarist at shows i’ve been to look very serene or even happy and ecstactic as they are pumping out agressive minor notes and chords to a violent crowd of moshers. This to me lines up with the quote you posted pertaining to the Wrathful Buddha. One can be at peace while on the out side appearing to be agressive or warathful, but not take it to heart.

    This is a fundemental view that i have always expressed, most of the time as a defense when asked how i listen to satanic bands like Deicide, for example. Death metal can actually calms me down and give me an inner peace where i don’t even listen or focus on the words, even if i know them. You have to look up most death metal lyrics anyway or its all grrrr roar grrraor lol. This is the level that i enjoy metal on and it, in its own way, is an example of the Wrathful Buddha. At least in my opinion

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