Rapping Buddhist Nuns

This is not your typical Buddhist nun.

When you picture Buddhist prayers, what comes to most people’s minds is something very sedate, and very calm. There will probably be lots of sitting down, maybe a little swaying, and almost always, people imagine male monks doing the praying.

However, a new competition has sought to shrug off the slow and steady image of Buddhist prayer that many people seem to have, and it has absolutely stunned the world.

Why? Because the competition was based not only around Buddhist nuns, people that are very rarely seen by the world, but also because the prayers were not sung, or murmured – but rapped.

Yes, you read that correctly. The Buddhist prayers were rapped. The competition occurred in South Korea, a country that has a long history of Buddhism within its borders. From here The competition was the creation of the Jogye Order, which is the largest organization of Buddhism within Korea, and was held on Thursday.

This was the first competition of its kind, created in hopes of attracting young people. No one was entirely sure how many people would attend, but in fact over three hundred nuns – and monks – came to the Seoul temple where the competition was being held, and participated in the event. It’s reminiscent of the breakdancing Buddhist monks in New York earlier this year; both stories challenge the traditional views of Buddhism.

Although many monks and nuns performed prayers according to the traditional style, a group of three nuns led by twenty five year old Hye-Kang decided to do something a little different. They belted out their own lyrics based on an ancient Buddhist prayer, jumping around the stage as they rapped, encouraging the crowd to clap their hands along with the beat. Hye-Kang later stated that they wanted to demonstrate that the Buddhist religion was just as interesting and engaging as anything else, and wanted young people to get involved.

The prize of three million won – or $2900 – was up for grabs at the competition.

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