In our May Meaning of Life Issue, we sit down for an interview with one of the country’s most avant-garde spiritual leaders. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche is a lama who founded the Buddhist organization Kechara, and can count living on the streets, being scouted for acting roles, and modelling as just some of the more unusual parts of his past. So it’s no surprise we wanted to sit down with him, and hear his thoughts on Madonna, Steven Seagal, and his role as a spiritual leader. We have included special soundbites from our interview, so listen away! Here are seven choice quotes:
I really didn’t want to be a monk just teaching compassion, and people walking off the streets, getting a blessing and walking out saying, “I didn’t understand anything.” I wanted to bring it out to contemporary people. I wanted people to look exactly as they look, but be different on the inside. (listen to this quote below:)
Romantic movies, I know the beginning, I know the middle, I know the end. It’s not even predictable. You don’t have to be a Tibetan psychic monk to know it. It’s just boring. (listen to this quote below:)
People’s general mentality towards spirituality is this: if I’m not happy, make me happy. I’m not at peace, so I come to get peace. I can’t get a girlfriend, I need your help to get one. They come with those kinds of motivations. And I look at them and say, “Take a real good look. Do I look like a dating agency?”
Oh, I wanted to be an actor. I chose to become a monk because it was an instruction from my teacher. And now, people tell me, you should have been an actor, then a monk, you would have been another Steven Seagal. But I thought to myself, don’t regret my path, just follow the path of what I’ve chosen. I trusted this old master all the way.
I said to myself, I’m going to blog about what I like. I’m not going to blog about what they expect. So you wouldn’t think it’s a Buddhist monk’s blog. I blog about Madonna, UFOs, food. I’m not trying to be different. Those are things I’m interested in. (listen to this quote below:)
What I like about Madonna is that she never stays stagnant. She’s very up-beat and with the times. “Girl Gone Wild”, I love that song. (we thought this whole segment about a monk talking about Madonna was so unique, we have included the entire portion where Rinpoche talks about her. Listen to this below:)
I dare say with the deepest respect to everyone, I don’t think one religion suits everyone.
We have also looked through the YouTube archives, and found some videos of Rinpoche before, during and after:
Rinpoche promoting his new show about the paranormal, which is set to air on NTV7 tentatively in August.
Read more about Tsem Tulku Rinpoche and other people like Ethan Hawke, Patrick Teoh, Dina Zaman, Alec Baldwin and more in our May Meaning of Life Issue, out now in newsstands. Interviewed by Jon Chew. Photograph by Paul Gadd.