Hip Hop

Old School Buddhism is Hip Hop

From the beginning of what we call “Buddhism”, this movement was known on its own terms as the Dhamma-Vinaya (Truth-Conduct). Similarly, one of the earliest and most widely known epitaphs of the Buddha was vijja-carana-sampanna (knowledge-practice-endowed). Knowledge (vijja) refers to awareness of the Truth (Dhamma), with which the Buddha was endowed (sampanna). While conduct or practice (carana), was his ethical exemplification (Vinaya) of that awareness in the world. Both vijja-carana as personal attributes, and the Dhamma-Vinaya to which these traits correspond on a more ideal level, are perfectly translated as Hip-Hop or Hip Hop.

Explaining the full meaning of Hip Hop on a track with Marley Marl, “Hip Hop Lives”, the Teacha KRS ONE says,

“Hip” means to know, it’s a form of intelligence,
To be hip is to be up-date and relevant.
“Hop” is a form of movement,
You can’t just observe a hop, you got to hop up and do it.
“Hip” and “Hop” is more than music,
“Hip” is the knowledge, “Hop” is the movement.
“Hip” (and) “Hop” is “intelligent movement”,
All relevant movement: we selling the music.
So write this down on your black books and journals,
Hip Hop Kulture is eternal.
Run and tell all your friends,
An ancient civilization has been born again – it’s a fact.

Therefore, in order to speak about “Buddhism” on its own terms, without turning Dhamma-Vinaya into a foreign loan word, modern scholars can now take comfort in the fact that a complete literal translation exists: Buddhism is Hip Hop. And modern “Buddhists” would be correct to identify themselves as (Old School) Hiphoppas, participants in an ancient civilization being born again.


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