Buddhist debate over Korean 'DJ Monk' after controversy in Malaysia

- through Henry Oudin

Published on

At koreatimes.co.kr

Korean DJ NewJeansNim has recently developed a polarizing reputation in the Buddhist world. In South Korea, he was praised by members of the monastic community for creating a bridge between Buddhism and young people. However, his recent performance in Malaysia drew widespread criticism from the Buddhist community, who feared he would confuse young people.

During his recent performances in Taiwan and Seoul, NewJeansNim can be seen incorporating Buddhist themes into his music, encouraging audiences to "raise their hands." . . If you overcome suffering, you will live in paradise. (Time)

The name NewJeansNim was created by Yoon Seong-ho, the man behind the DJ character. Yoon was previously a comedian, changing paths and adopting the monastic appearance to connect Buddhism with younger audiences. The new name was created by mixing the names of a popular Korean pop girl group, NewJeans, with "sunim", the Korean title for a Buddhist monk.

In Korea, religiosity in general and Buddhism in particular are in decline, leading some monks to adopt new techniques and styles to reach young people. Last year, a monk became famous in Korea for his beauty, earning him the nickname "flower monk", which might be frowned upon in other Buddhist countries.

From time.com

Regarding NewJeansNim, the president of the Jogye Order, the largest Buddhist sect in the country, said: ““I am grateful for the work you have done to spread a much younger Buddhism to the younger generation. " (Time)

Last month, he drew cheers from a large audience of mostly young Koreans at the International Buddhism Exhibition in Seoul.* There, participants could dance to his music, experience Buddhist scriptures in VR headsets or admire a large statue of a bodhisattva made of chocolate. Monks at the event highlighted the religion's openness to new approaches as it seeks new followers in a rapidly changing modern world.

NewJeansNim, who is not ordained, has also faced backlash, notably in Malaysia, where some view his nightclub appearances as inappropriate and disrespectful of Buddhist rituals.

At koreaherald.com

The Malaysian Buddhist Youth Association condemned NewJeansNim's performances earlier this month, saying they could confuse the public about the true meaning of Buddhist practice.** In a statement about his performance in a nightclub, they said: "Such an arrangement will not only affect the solemnity of Buddhism, but may also confuse the public about the true meaning of Buddhist rituals, such as chanting sutras and hold the palms together. (Time)

Malaysian lawmakers also took a stand, calling for NewJeansNim to be banned from entering the country in order to preserve religious harmony.

In response to this controversy, Malaysian authorities ordered a halt to NewJeansNim's activities, leading to the cancellation of its planned performance in Kuala Lumpur. Despite the setbacks, NewJeansNim plans to continue performing across Asia, aiming to change young people's perceptions of Buddhism through his EDM performances.

In response to the controversy, NewJeansNim said: “I'm just starting to feel that young people are changing their minds about Buddhism. No matter who calls me or wherever, I will go to perform to make it easier for people to accept Buddhism through my EDM performance. (Time) NewJeansNim has upcoming performances planned in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

* Buddhists turn to youth at Seoul International Buddhism Exhibition
**Malaysian Buddhists call for Korean DJ to be banned for dressing like a monk

Learn more

“Moine Fleur”, the latest social media sensation (The Korean Herald)
NewJeansNim makes Buddhist dance music. Why do some people like it and others think it's fake (Temps)
Celebrating Buddha's birthday, a South Korean DJ is in the spotlight (Reuters)
The DJ “Monk” who propagates Buddhism goes global (The Korean Herald)

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The post Korean Buddhist Debate 'DJ Monk' After Malaysia Controversy appeared first on Buddhadoor Global.

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Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

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