Buddhist Meditation and the Harlem Shake?

I’m about a month behind on this and I’m not sure I’ll ever understand this internet phenomenon, but, for what it’s worth, apparently Buddhist meditation groups are in on this thing as well (this one via Karme Choling, a Shambhala center in northern Vermont):

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I find the “kids react” video much more ‘enlightening’:

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Says one 10 year-old, “Stop it. Now! If you make one more video, I will pull your brains out and feed your liver to my dogs.” (violent? yes. necessary? maybe.)

And while we’re looking at Buddhism being used in this new meme, here are a couple more videos, this one in the potentially offensive category (a guy dressed as a Tibetan monk with two women):

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An also potentially offensive animation version:

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And this (it’s no worse than the previous):

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All of this makes one wonder: can someone make a “good” Buddhist Harlem Shake video?

Rod over at theworsthorse.com (perhaps mercifully) hasn’t mentioned any of this, but I think it’s worthy of a “Dharma-Burger” for its novel mix of Buddhism and pop-culture. It’s worth a thought or two, at least, in case you thought Buddhism -or Buddhists- were ‘above’ all of this.

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  • http://meditationandmindfulnessforchildren.blogspot.co.uk Dharma

    Hi, the children at my school wanted to let you know about a little project we are working on at the moment and to see what you thought about it.

    We were wondering if there was a place where you thought you could place this website?
    Meditation & Mindfulness FOR children BY children.


    Created by children at The Dharma Primary School. The ONLY Buddhist Primary School in EUROPE.

    The blog includes constant updates of the latest mindfulness activities (for home or school), child friendly websites relating to mindfulness, mindfulness news for children, picked by children. Building learning power through mindful mind skill activities. Philosophical questions on which to think about. How to meditate is a guide explaining the benefits and instructions and overcoming possible difficulties surrounding mediating as a young person (this is also provided as a podcast both on the website and on iTunes). We are also looking to develop a page to help aid conflict resolution in schools or at home for children, teachers and parents to use. Another project currently under construction is the idea of using and applying mathematics activities which are rich in mindfulness skills too.

    Please enjoy, subscribe, comment and share!

  • Robin

    As Buddhist I would hope we would be a little more mindful rather jumping the ban wagon mindlessly of the latest IN thing. Has anyone ever stopped to think what is the Harlem shake? What does Harlem have to do this it? The Harlem Shake is a real dance that began in “Harlem” in the 80′s. This use of the name “Harlem Shake” is very distasteful to the art form – yes, ART form. (Just as you would not dare call calligraphy a bunch or random squiggly lines.) If anyone cares to learn more watch this discussion by MSNBC news commentator and professor Melissa Harris-Perry on the origins of the dance and why what is being currently termed as Harlem Shake is not just a fun meme http://www.nbcnews.com/id/46979745/vp/51026034

    • Daigan

      Thank you Robin, I started to write pretty much this same thing and am grateful someone beat me to it.

  • Justin Whitaker

    It’s great to see a Buddhist primary school here in the UK! Good luck and I hope your efforts inspire many others.

    Robin, I totally agree (and thanks for the link). This craze seems to feed on people’s curiosity (we all watch wondering just what crazy antics the people will get up to) and lack of attention span. That’s why I was a bit surprised to see that a Dharma center had made a video; and then that others had thought it wise (or just funny) to do Buddhist-themed Harlem Shake videos.

    • Gordon

      Dharma, great blog!

      Have you heard of the Shambhala School in Halifax Nova Scotia? It’s a k-12 school in the Shambhala tradition that just celebrated its 20th anniversary.


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