Rap your way to enlightenment? Definitely not with Korean deejay monk, DJ NewJeansNim

SOUTH Korean deejay monk DJ NewJeansNim seems to be at the centre of attraction lately, no thanks to his unconventional way of spinning music while dressing up as a monk.

He has courted lots of controversies with opinions divided between the young and old. In the social media, the younger generation saw him as a breath of fresh air, a much-needed solution to make Buddhism relevant today.

But the older generation found him to be making a mockery of Buddhism as the DJ rapped, screamed and even chanted the mantra on stage in full-packed clubs that serve alcohol.

Let me point out that before DJ NewJeansNim came to Malaysia, there are other DJ monks such as Gyosen Asakura from Japan. His temple is unlike the usual Buddhist temples and spinning techno music seems to be the norm.

There are also monks doing beatboxing, much to the delight of the followers. Perhaps in Japan and South Korea, the Buddhist devotees are much more receptive of such behaviour than those from other countries.


๐Ÿ”ŽK-๋ถˆ๊ต๊ทผํ™ฉ ๊ทน๋ฝ์™•์ƒ EDM ํŒŒํ‹ฐ๐ŸŽถ DJ๋‰ด์ง„์Šค๋‹˜๊ณผ ํ•จ๊ป˜ํ•˜๋Š” ์„ธ์ƒ์—์„œ ์ œ์ผ ๊ฑด์ „ํ•œ ํด๋Ÿฝ ์…”ํ”Œ๋Œ„์Šค ์ถ”๋Š” ์Šค๋‹˜ ์ข…๊ต๋Œ€ํ†ตํ•ฉ ใ† ๊ทน๋ฝ๋„ ๋ฝ์ด๋‹ค ์š”์ฆ˜ ๋ถˆ๊ต ๊ทผํ™ฉ k-๋ถˆ๊ต ํ˜„์ฃผ์†Œ ํฌ๊ตํ™œ๋™ ใ† ์‡ผ๋ฏธ๋” ๋ถˆ๊ต๋ฏธ๋” ์˜ค๋น ๋ช‡์‚ด ๊ด€์…ˆ๋ณด์‚ด ๋„ˆ๋Š”๋ช‡์‚ด ๋ฌธ์ˆ˜๋ณด์‚ด ์นœ๊ตฌ๋ช‡์‚ด ๋ณดํ˜„๋ณด์‚ด ์ง„์งœ๋ช‡์‚ด ์ง€์žฅ๋ณด์‚ด ใ† #๋ถ€์ฒ˜ํ•ธ์„ฌ #๊ทน๋ฝ์™•์ƒ ์„ฑ๋ถˆํ•˜์„ธ์š”ใ…Žใ…Žใ…Ž ใ† ใ† ๐Ÿ”ธ๏ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๏ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๏ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๏ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๏ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๏ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๏ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๏ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๏ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๏ธ 24์„œ์šธ๊ตญ์ œ๋ถˆ๊ต๋ฐ•๋žŒํšŒ @buddhismexpo_seoul ๐ŸšฉSETEC ์ปจ๋ฒค์…˜ (ํ•™์—ฌ์šธ์—ญ) ๐Ÿšฉ24.4.4~4.7๊นŒ์ง€ ๐Ÿšฉ10์‹œ~18์‹œ ๐Ÿ”ธ๏ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๏ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๏ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๏ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๏ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๏ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๏ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๏ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๏ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๏ธ ใ† ใ† 24.4.5 #์„œ์šธ๊ตญ์ œ๋ถˆ๊ต๋ฐ•๋žŒํšŒ #๋ถˆ๊ต๋ฐ•๋žŒํšŒ #๋ถ€์ฒ˜๋‹˜์˜ค์‹ ๋‚  #์—ฐ๋“ฑํšŒ #๋ถ€์ฒ˜ํ•ธ์„ญ #ํด๋ŸฝํŒŒํ‹ฐ #๋””์ œ์ด๊ณต์—ฐ #๋‰ด์ง„์Šค๋‹˜ #๋ถ€์ฒ˜๋‹˜์˜ค์‹ ๋‚ ํ–‰์‚ฌ

โ™ฌ How We Party – R3hab & VINAI

Drawing the line

However, monks have 227 precepts to follow, including not to engage in entertainment. In Buddha’s time, there was no internet. Singing and dancing were prohibited among the Sangha (monk) community back then.

But time has changed. Just look at the famous singing nun from Nepal, Ani Choying Drolma. She was invited by the UNESCO and even the Western countries to perform and deliver the Dharma.

In Malaysia, the late Chief Reverend Dr K. Sri Dhammananda even gave his stamp of approval to hymn singing as a way to reach out to youths at that time.

Today, monks are using the social media to spread the Dhamma. Look at the famous Japanese monk, Kodo Nishimura, who uses make up on himself and is an advocate of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender).

There is a lot of argument contending that if the Korean deejay monk is considered controversial, why not ban the movies like Shaolin Soccer and other Shaw Brothers movies depicting monks in comical action or acting out horror scenes?

Well, movies are not live entertainers. There is also no depiction of monks in the extreme way. Even if there were such scene, the culprit will surely be punished in the movie as a lesson learnt.

Some argued that Guan Yin or the Goddess of Mercy transformed from man to woman to educate people. If she could do it, why not the deejay monk? I beg to differ. Guan Yin is a Boddhisatva, not an ordinary human.

No right or wrong

DJ NewJeansNim is not educating anyone in the club but creating entertainment and even made a mockery of Buddhism by using Buddhist tools and chant as he raps.

To many Buddhist nations, monks are revered; the monkโ€™s robe is considered sacred and perceived to symbolise a person’s vow to undertake the Dharma practice.

As such, for DJ NewJeansNim to wear the monkโ€™s robe and prancing in full blast on stage is definitely not the sight I want to see. It has certainly boosted his personal branding now but to those who treat the robes as sacred will see him making a mockery on Buddhism.

In short, there will always be different opinions in this issue. For me, I still prefer the good old way โ€“ meditative music, pure chanting and above all, a heart that is eager to learn Dharma without any publicity stunt.

There is no right or wrong. But when he wears the monk’s robe and did his wild antics, that’s not the way to be. May the Triple Gem guide and bless everyone. Peace to all. โ€“ May 14, 2024


Francis Yip is a fashionista and a multiple award-winning lifestyle writer and creative director. He is also the CEO of Franciswriter Dot Com and guest lecturer in The One Academy.

ย The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

Main image credit:ย International Buddhism Expo

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