Listening for Change

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Duncan Sheik, a 29-year-old Buddhist musician and graduate of Brown University with two hit CD’s and billing on critics’ Top Ten music lists, has been practicing Buddhism for the last ten years in the Soka Gakkai tradition. His latest CD, Humming, includes Nichiren, a song that honors the thirteenth-century Japanese monk whose ideas inspire Soka Gokkai, In it, Sheik sings, “…the sound of his philosophy rose above the falling rain…You change a heart…You change the world.” Sheik speaks with Tricycle about his practice.


practice image fall 1999When talking about the different law in the universe and how they manifest themselves, one commonality is a kind of rhythmical vibration. You might say that all matter and energy obey these laws in particular ways. So when you chant Nam myoho renge kyo, for instance, the idea is that you are getting your whole life into rhythm with the fundamental law of life. It’s that sound, that vibration, that is bringing you into that rhythm. In some ways, it’s the entrance point.

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