I imagine you’re also more present on stage.
Why Jazz Is Like Buddhism
Yeah. I mean, the cool thing is that jazz is really a wonderful example of the great characteristics of Buddhism and great characteristics of the human spirit. Because in jazz we share, we listen to each other, we respect each other, we are creating in the moment. At our best we're non-judgmental. If we let judgment get in the way of improvising, it always screws us up. So we take whatever happens and try to make it work. We try to make it fit. We try to enhance it.

I also realize now that there’s an infinite way of looking at things. Sometimes you have to create a vision, a path for a vision. It may not be apparent and you may have to forge it yourself. And that will be the way to move your life forward.

I wonder if you could chant for us for a second?
Chanting a Buddhist Meditation
Oh, yeah! Oh, by the way, I chant every day. Primarily in the morning and the evening. Even before going on stage I say Nam-myoho-renge-kyo three times—the idea is to get in sync with the moment. But anyway--

Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. That’s how we chant.

Thank you. That’s great.
You’re welcome.

What does that chant mean to you?
It is the name of life. It’s like the sound of life. When you invoke that by saying Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, that sound, that energy, touches everything in the universe. At the same time—and just think about this—within the life of a human being is the universe. So, we all have the universe inside at our core. That’s the microcosm. And then the physical universe that we see is a macrocosm. It takes the work of chanting and living your life, and listening to the signs that are a result of chanting, for the best pathway toward the development of your life, and the uncovering of your highest condition of life, which is your Buddha nature.

Cool.
'Buddhism Is Inclusive'
Yeah. It really is cool. And it’s very open. That’s the other thing about this Buddhism, it’s not exclusive; it’s inclusive. It doesn’t say that any other religions are wrong and it’s my way or the highway. Nothing like that. I don’t feel like I have rejected Christianity or Judaism or Islam. I feel like I’ve embraced the truth that’s in everything. Because there is truth in all of those pursuits. And others, too. It’s a great way to feel.

It sounds very enlivening.
It’s really cool. I can’t even begin to scratch the surface to tell you how great this practice really is. It’s life-changing in that, in doing this, you actually get closer to who you really are.

What have you discovered about who you really are?
That I’m a human being at the core. And that there's a great beauty to each human being. Each human being exists because there’s something they have to offer for the evolution of the universe that only they can fulfill.

It might be something as simple as saying the right word to the right person at the right time—and that could change the course of history. You never really know. But the whole thing is to work at the process of being in sync with the universe, so that everything will align at the proper time so that you can deliver that which is your life mission. And that’s why we’re here as individuals. And then there’s our contribution to the collective. It makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?