Leaving OM: Buddhism’s lost lamas

July 28, 2012

Before they could even read, they were hailed as reincarnations of Tibetan Buddhist legends in the vein of the Dalai Lama. Now young adults, these reluctant would-be spiritual leaders are stepping out of their monk’s robes, becoming rappers and moviemakers, and blowing the whistle on sexual abuse at Buddhist monasteries.

During a break in a mixing session at a recording studio in Milan, Gomo Tulku, a Tibetan-American hip-hop artist, plays the sample he’s inserting into the intro of his debut EP—a group of vocalists singing what sounds eerily like a Tibetan Buddhist chant. One of his Italian producers had it programmed into his …

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