Breakdancing Buddhist monks took to the parks of New York City Friday afternoon to celebrate the legacy of Beastie Boy Adam Yauch.
May 3 is unofficially “MCA-DAY” in New York City, in honor of the late Adam Yauch, “MCA” from hip hop group The Beastie Boys.
Yauch, a native Brooklynite, rapper, musician, director, and human rights activist, passed away on May 4, 2012 after a three-year battle with cancer.
To drum up publicity for their May 3 celebration, breakdancers dressed as Buddhist monks performed in Union Square and Washington Square Park.
Yauch was a Buddhist as well as a strong voice for Tibetan independence through hosting Tibetan Freedom concerts, whose main goal was to spread the importance of compassion and altruism, and peace in Tibet. In Yauch’s words, it also served as “more of a forum for the Tibetans themselves to be able to speak” and a place to try to recreate the Tibetan culture.
Yauch described his reasons for practicing Buddhism in this 1994 interview:
“The feeling I get from the rinpoches and His Holiness [the Dalai Lama] and Tibetan people in general. The people that I’ve met are really centered in the heart; they’re coming from a real clear, compassionate place. And most of the teachings that I’ve read about almost seem set up to distract the other side of your brain in order to give your heart center a chance to open up.
In terms of what I understand, Buddhism is like a manual to achieve enlightenment—there are these five things and these six things within the first thing, and all these little subdivisions. And despite all of that right-brain information, it’s very heart-centered. At least that’s the feeling I get from the Tibetans. Also the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism have been passed down for a long time now. They have that system pretty well figured out.”