Buddhism has been around for over 2,600 years… one of the oldest religions in the world… However, it is only in the past 20 years that Buddhism has really taken off into mainstream traditionally non-Buddhist countries and is embraced by many people all over the world from all walks of life…
In Asian countries, where Buddhism is much more prevalent, and has existed peacefully for thousands of years is now finally spreading. But it is kept alive by the monastic educated, who spread their influence by teaching and example. Similarly, in America, with the difference that the equivalent ‘celebrity’ class there comprises of movie stars, celebrities, personalities and rock musicians, who promote the message of Buddhism in their movies, music and lifestyles.
These days, we can find Dharma centers, temples and monasteries coming up across the globe. We can even find a Dharma center in your neighbourhood at this day and age. What is really surprising these days, is that you will probably not find as many monks, but lay people in these centers. It is really encouraging to see that many people are realizing that there is more to life than parties, shopping, fun, movies, holidays, etc.
All thanks to the His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and great masters like Gaden Tripas, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, Lama Yeshe, Geshe Wangyal, Kensur Lobsang Tharchin, Geshe Rabten, etc etc etc… more and more people are becoming more aware of Buddhism and finding it a suitable way of life and religion. In this way, more and more people will benefit from Buddhist teachings.
Some of the more famous Hollywood Buddhists are as follows:-
In 1993, Reeves played Siddhartha in “Little Buddha”, it is rumoured that this role may have turned the actor onto Buddhism. Being one quarter Chinese in ancestry, it also connects back to his heritage of Buddhism also.
In a video series called, “Discovering Buddhism”, Reeves said: “There is a profound power that is awakened in us by contemplating impermanence and death. We are inspired to practice the dharma in everything we do and not to waste another moment of our precious lives.”
President Bill Clinton
The politician, 65, has recently taken up a healthier life-style including becoming vegan after a string of heart problems over the years.
And in his latest bid to improve his well-being, the Democrat has hired his own personal Buddhist monk to help him learn how to meditate properly.
Radaronline quoted a source as saying: ‘Ever since his heart scare, Bill has looked for ways to help him relax.
‘He has a hectic life, he travels a lot on business as an ambassador for the U.S. and needs something to keep him sane.’
Meditation offers him that, he has a *mantra that he likes to chant and after every session he feels transformed and full of positive energy.
‘It’s definitely doing him the world of good – he feels fitter and stronger than ever.’
In February 2004, Clinton was rushed to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City after complaining of chest pains.
He needed to have two coronary stents implanted in his heart and a few months later in September underwent quadruple bypass surgery.
In 2010 he then had a clogged artery reopened – his second heart op in just five years – and announced he was giving up his diet of American fast food such as burgers, fries and deep-fried chicken to go vegan.
His strict diet consists of lots of fresh vegetables and fruit but he admits he still occasionally eats fish.
Note: Buddhism is one of the fastest growing religions in the United States.
*Mantras are sacred words as spoken by the Buddha which has vast benefits for the mind and body when chanted consistently. See here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=28029
Nearly a decade ago, k.d. lang began studying the Nyingma tradition of Buddhism, but the 48-year-old singer says she has been drawn to the practice since childhood. “From a very early age I have considered myself to be a Buddhist. I don’t even know where that came from, it was just an innate feeling,” she said in an interview with the Shambala Sun. “Then the older I got and the more I learned about Buddhism, the more I felt at home with its principles and philosophy.”
Among the most famous Buddhists in Hollywood, Richard Gere has been a very vocal supporter of human rights in Tibet and is often seen in the company of the Dalai Lama. Their first meeting even included a vital acting lesson for Gere: “‘So when you do this acting and you’re angry, are you really angry?’” Gere recalled His Holiness asking. “ ‘When you’re acting sad, are you really sad? When you cry, are you really crying?’ I gave him some kind of actor answer, like it was more effective if you really believed in the emotion that you were portraying. He looked very deeply into my eyes and just started laughing. Hysterically. He was laughing at the idea that I would believe emotions are real, that I would work very hard to believe in anger and hatred and sadness and pain and suffering.”
Richard Gere makes his admiration for the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader in exile, well known. Gere periodically retreats to Tibet to brush up on his Buddhism. While there, the actor enjoys a very different existence than he does in Hollywood. According to Gere, he has a simple room and has to share a bathroom. There is a limited supply of water and no television, air conditioning or newspapers. As Gere, explains it, this is his time to relax, to meditate, to release.
In 1964, Uma Thurman’s father, Robert Thurman, became the first Westerner to be ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist monk. Though she is named after “dbuma chenpo” (“the great middle way”) she considers herself to be agnostic and regrets that her father didn’t give her a more formal religious upbringing: “My father didn’t impose his religion on us as children,” the actress has said. “To the point that maybe it would have been nice to have a little more—something to rebel against.”
After trying on Kabbalah with Madonna, Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez was reportedly ‘flirting’ with Buddhism when he was dating Kate Hudson. Though Hudson was raised Jewish—the faith of her mother, Goldie Hawn—the family also practiced Buddhism. Hudson would even bring Buddhist prayer beads to Yankee games, and perhaps it worked: The team won the World Series in 2009.
In a commencement speech to the UC-Berkeley class of 1994, filmmaker Oliver Stone spoke of the importance of his faith in the world. “Buddhism in this country is not really understood; it’s regarded as sort of quaint, it seems to be an old-fashioned religion,” the then 63-year old Stone said. “But it isn’t, really. It’s a very active one and has a place in the modern world.”
Kate Bostworth was introduced to Nicherin Buddhism when she began dating actor Orlando Bloom in 2002. While the couple has since broken up, the 27-year-old Bosworth has described the faith as “just a really incredible state of mind…It’s basically about constantly growing and making yourself a better person and focusing on what you want for yourself and the world and really putting it out there.”
Singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen has practiced Buddhism since the 1970′s, but it was only after he finished touring for his 1992 album, “The Future”, that he decided to devote himself completely into the faith. The man who wrote “Hallelujah” lived for five years in a Zen Buddhist monastery in Los Angeles.
Steven Seagal has been studying Buddhism since he was a boy, and in 1997, the action star was declared to be a reincarnated lama, or tulku (a sacred vessel of Tibetan Buddhism). Seagal also served as the American protector of the daughter of the tenth Panchen Lama while she was in college. Seagal had heard she was in danger, so he contacted people in Tibet. “I spoke with my friends there, and they said I was one of the few people who could protect and take care of her…be her father figure, her guardian,” Seagal said. “Try to guide her so that she kept her heritage in the dharma…You’re born naked, you die naked…In between, you should find a spiritual guide.”
Jazz legend Herbie Hancock has been practicing Buddhism, since the early 1970s. He discovered it one night on stage when his bassist started playing something innovative, even ‘magical’. “People were freaking out,” Hancock said of his satori, “it was so incredible what he was playing.” The bass player said he’d been chanting. Hancock was intrigued, and discovered the Buddhist faith lined up with what he’d already believed. “I said, this sounds like what I always believed in anyway. I thought I was the only one.”
Composer Philip Glass was first drawn to Buddhism in the late 1960s. when he travelled to India. In 1972, he met the Dalai Lama and eventually scored the soundtrack to Martin Scorsese’s film about His Holiness, “Kundun”. Scorsese said of Glass, “His Buddhist faith and deep understanding of Tibetan culture combine with the subtlety of his composition to play an essential role in our movie on the life of the Dalai Lama.”
In 1974, as soon as Steve Jobs earned enough money working for videogame-maker Atari, he travelled to India where a Buddhist monk shaved his head and he began practicing the faith. A few years later, Jobs began studying Zen Buddhism under Kobin Chino who would later officiate at his wedding. While being a billionaire may seem to go against Jobs’ faith, his Zen-like business attitude has certainly paid off when it comes to the religion Jobs founded in 1976: Apple.
All the money in the world, being a powerful CEO, and creating Apple will do nothing to help him at his death now. He is well known and a celebrity will not help him one bit now. Whatever good karma he has will help him take a good rebirth.Many ppl get into the trap like him… experiencing money and challenges for a while, then it’s over. If he had seriously practices dharma even become a zen monk, it would have been more beneficial for him. Om Mani Peme Hung
George Lucas was born and raised in a strongly Methodist family. After inserting religious themes into Star Wars, he eventually come to identify strongly with the Eastern religious philosophies that he studied and incorporated into his movies, which were the major inspiration for the “Force”. Lucas often states that his religion is “Buddhist Methodist”.
Tina Turner often said that Buddhism gave her the strength to leave her abusive husband. She said, “I tested it and it worked.”
Goldie Hawn calls herself Jew-Bu – meaning she was born a Jew, but is practicing Buddhist.
Alanis Morrisette is said to be extremely into Buddhism and has visited India twice.
Miranda Kerr said that Buddhism is “very grounding and really centering”. She was introduced to Buddhism by boyfriend, Orlando Bloom.
“People probably don’t realize it, but I was raised a Buddhist, and I actively practiced my faith from childhood…” he says.
Woods has long been connected to Buddhism through his Thai mother and has said that his recent actions are extremely regretted, “I felt entitled, which I had never felt before. Consequently, I hurt so many people by my own reckless attitude and behavior. I quit doing all the things that my mum and dad had taught me. And as I said earlier in my statement, I felt entitled, and that is not how I was raised”.
“Buddhism teaches that a craving for things outside ourselves causes an unhappy and pointless search for security. It teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint. Obviously, I lost track of what I was taught”.
Many people will recognize him as ‘Sulu’ from the television series Star Trek. George was born in Los Angeles, California to Japanese American parents. He is one of the first regular roles of Asian Americans on American TV. As a young child, he was a member of Boy Scout Troop 379 of the Koyasan Buddhist Temple. George is both a practicing Buddhist and a proponent of gay rights. In 2008, George married his long-time partner in a Buddhist ceremony in Los Angeles.
Other famous Buddhists are:-
- Naomi Watts
- Harrison Ford
- Russell Simmons
- Phil Jackson – NBA Coach
- Steve Wynn
- Sharon Stone
- Hernann Hesse
- Dennis Weaver
- Alice Walker
- Adam Yauch – Lead Singer of Beastie Boys
- Jet Li
- Joanna Lumley
- Kylie Kwong
- William Ford, Jr. – Chairman of Ford Motor Company
- Belinda Carlisle – Pop Singer
- Cher – Singer
- Faye Wong
- Patrick Duffy