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On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

We've even won a couple of Webbys + a Peabody Award.

Adam Yauch’s Buddhism in Two Tracks

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

I’d like to send you off this Saturday with a pairing of tracks from the Beastie Boys’ Ill Communication: “Shambhala” and “Boddhisatva Vow.” After I read Tricycle's interview with Adam Yauch about his life and his commitment to Buddhism in the mid-1990s, I came across this photo and caption by an Aussie, Julian Wearne:

A tribute to Adam Yauch

I woke up this morning to hear the sad news about Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch’s passing after a three-year battle with cancer. I felt the only appropriate thing to do was put Paul’s Boutique on the turntable, turn it up, and enjoy one of the finest hip-hop albums ever released.

I’m not religious at all, and I’m not at all educated on the teachings of Buddhism, but I do think MCA’s interpretation of Buddhism can teach anyone a lot. From his song “Bodhisattva Vow”:

A Strength From Within To Go The Length
Seeing Others Are As Important As Myself
I Strive For A Happiness Of Mental Wealth
With The Interconnectedness That We Share As One
Every Action That We Take Affects Everyone
So In Deciding For What A Situation Calls
There Is A Path For The Good For All”

I’ve listened to these tracks so many times but had never really thought about the lyrics and what they said or whom they came from. It should’ve been obvious, but it took an Aussie’s photo on Flickr to shine a light on them in a new way. I hope you take a few minutes to listen to these tracks and remember the life of MCA, a phenomenal artist and a fine human being.