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Celebrity Buddhists

Person list created by Nusch Avatar

Celebrity Buddhists, such as those in television, film, the arts, CEOs, music, and sports. Also included are politicians from non-Buddhist lands (otherwise the list would be too long if it included all politicians from Buddhist lands too or celebrities who are only known in Buddhist lands).
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Nichiren Buddhism

Nichiren Buddhism (Japanese: 法華系仏教 Hokke-kei Bukkyo) is a branch of Buddhism based on the teachings of the 13th century Japanese monk Nichiren (1222–1282). Nichiren Buddhism is generally noted for its focus on the Lotus Sutra and an attendant belief that all people have an innate Buddha nature and are therefore inherently capable of attaining enlightenment in their current form and present lifetime. It is also notable for its hard-line opposition to any other form of Buddhism, which Nichiren saw as deviating from the Buddhist truth he had discovered. Nichiren Buddhism is a comprehensive term covering several major schools and many sub-schools, as well as several of Japan's new religions. Its many denominations have in common a strong focus on the chanting and recital of Said sutra, which is thought to hold "extraordinary power"
"Since time is a continuum, the moment is always different, so the music is always different."

Famed Jazz musician and composer Herbie Hancock began practicing Nichiren Buddhism in 1972. In an interview on Beliefnet, Hancock describes the way Buddhism has enhanced his creative process: "... jazz is really a wonderful example of the great characteristics of Buddhism and great characteristics of the human spirit. Because in jazz we share, we listen to each other, we respect each other, we are creating in the moment."
Baggio, formerly a Roman Catholic, practices Nichiren Buddhism and is a member of the Soka Gakkai International Buddhist organization.
Bloom is a practising Buddhist; In 2004, he became a full member of Soka Gakkai International, a lay Buddhist association affiliated with the teachings of Nichiren. Bloom has also been a part of Global Green, an environmental company, since the early 2000s. As part of his environmental involvement, he has renovated his London home to use solar panels, incorporate recycled materials, and utilize energy efficient lightbulbs. Bloom has been approached by UNICEF to act as an international ambassador. Bloom met American actress Kate Bosworth outside a coffee shop in 2002, where he was introduced to her by a mutual friend. He met her again at the premiere of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers later that year. The two had an "on-and-off relationship" from 2002 until splitting up in September 2006.
Average listal rating (1839 ratings) 8.4 IMDB Rating 0
Kerr practises Nichiren Buddhism a Japanese branch of Buddhism as a member of the Soka Gakkai Internationa and believes "we have a responsibility to bring peace and harmony to our lives and the world." As part of her Nichiren beliefs, Kerr reportedly chants every morning and night for 20 minutes, practises yoga, meditates and reads widely on spirituality.
Average listal rating (218 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 0
Born as a Baptist, Turner converted to Nichiren Buddhism in 1974 to help conquer her troubling marriage to Ike Turner. Turner has credited Buddhism with giving her the courage to leave Ike and has said the religion has helped her to find peace.
She is a Buddhist and has stated, "Buddhism is just a really incredible state of mind. It's just a beautiful place to try and be at. It's basically about constantly growing and making yourself a better person and focusing on what you want for yourself and the world and really putting it out there. It's amazing. If you, like, have everybody taking 10 minutes a day and really focusing on, like, positivity and a better world and a better self, imagine all that, just all that positivity going out there."
Akinnuoye-Agbaje is a Buddhist, a member of Sōka Gakkai International.
Average listal rating (19 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 0
Walker is Buddhist and also a practicing vegan.
Average listal rating (75 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 0
Since 2012, Boy George has credited his practice of Nichiren Buddhism and chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo for his newfound spiritual strength to remain sober.
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Tibetan Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism[1] is the body of Buddhist religious doctrine and institutions characteristic of Tibet, Mongolia, Tuva, Bhutan, Kalmykia and certain regions of the Himalayas, including northern Nepal, and India (particularly in Arunachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Dharamsala, Lahaul and Spiti in Himachal Pradesh, and Sikkim). It is the state religion of Bhutan.[2] It is also practiced in Mongolia and parts of Russia (Kalmykia, Buryatia, and Tuva) and Northeast China. Texts recognized as scripture and commentary are contained in the Tibetan Buddhist canon, such that Tibetan is a spiritual language of these areas.

A Tibetan diaspora has spread Tibetan Buddhism to many Western countries, where the tradition has gained popularity.[3] Among its prominent exponents is the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. The number of its adherents is estimated to be between ten and twenty million.
Ginsberg's spiritual journey began early on with his spontaneous visions, and continued with an early trip to India and a chance encounter on a New York City street with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche (they both tried to catch the same cab), a Tibetan Buddhist meditation master of the Vajrayana school, who became his friend and life-long teacher. Ginsberg helped Trungpa (and New York poet Anne Waldman) in founding the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado.
Ginsberg was also involved with Krishnaism. He befriended A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the Hare Krishna movement in the Western world, a relationship that is documented by Satsvarupa dasa Goswami in his biographical account Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta. Ginsberg donated money, materials, and his reputation to help the Swami establish the first temple, and toured with him to promote his cause.
Music and chanting were both important parts of Ginsberg's live delivery during poetry readings. He often accompanied himself on a harmonium, and was often accompanied by a guitarist. When Ginsberg asked if he could sing a song in praise of Lord Krishna on William F. Buckley, Jr.'s TV show Firing Line on September 3, 1968, Buckley acceded and the poet chanted slowly as he played dolefully on a harmonium. According to Richard Brookhiser, an associate of Buckley's, the host commented that it was "the most unharried Krishna I've ever heard."
Attendance to his poetry readings was generally standing room only for most of his career, no matter where in the world he appeared. Ginsberg came in touch with the Hungryalist poets of Bengal, especially Malay Roy Choudhury, who introduced Ginsberg to the three fishes with one head of Indian emperor Jalaluddin Mohammad Akbar. The three fishes symbolised coexistence of all thought, philosophy and religion.
Average listal rating (937 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 0
He is a Buddhist and vegetarian. He is a long-time supporter of the Dalai Lama and has even visited with him at the Dalai Lama's home in Dharmasala, India.
Average listal rating (339 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 0
Hawn became involved in Eastern philosophy in 1972. She was raised Jewish but is now a practising Buddhist and has raised her children in both Buddhist and Jewish traditions. She has stated on the Larry King Show that she is a Jewish Buddhist (JuBu), but neither more Jewish nor more Buddhist. Even though she might have converted to Buddhism, she has said in an interview that she never had to forsake her Jewish heritage to embrace Buddhism. Hawn travels to India annually, and has visited Israel, stating that she felt a strong identification with its people. She was criticized, by pro-Palestinians, for lending out her support for Israel and for the Jewish National Fund.
Goldie Hawn has stated that "Buddhism is my religion and Judaism is my tribe."
Hawn founded and funds the Goldie Hawn Institute, formerly called the Bright Lights Foundation. The institute teaches the Buddhist technique of mindfulness training; where fourth through seventh graders are instructed in mindful awareness techniques and positive thinking skills, then tested for changes in behavior, social and emotional competence, and moral development. One school official reports that in one classroom, the children went from having the most behavioral problems, to having zero behavioral problems.
Hawn realizes that many parents oppose bringing Buddhist methods into public schools, and recently stated in Greater Good magazine, published by Greater Good Science Center: "There will always be people who see this as scary, or as some kind of Eastern philosophy that they don't want for their kids." Hawn adds, "Mindfulness gives kids a tool for understanding how their brain works, for having more self-control".
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Average listal rating (50 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 0
Glass describes himself as "a Jewish-Taoist-Hindu-Toltec-Buddhist", and he is a supporter of the Tibetan cause. In 1987 he co-founded the Tibet House with Columbia University professor Robert Thurman and the actor Richard Gere.
Average listal rating (432 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 0
"If art exists as spiritual revival for the country or the tribe, then it must include controversy, because art must challenge the thinking and fashion of the time and of society. Art must peel back the lie."
Oliver Stone's journey to Buddhism began in 1975, when he volunteered to fight in the Vietnam war. The Vietnamese practice of Buddhism moved him at the time, and his more recent movie Heaven and Earth helped him take that step into a larger world. His movies tend to be about some personal demon or a facet of humanity which needs to be addressed, such as Greed and Platoon.
Average listal rating (576 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 0
Gere was raised by Methodist parents; his interest in Buddhism began when he traveled to Nepal in 1978 with the Brazilian painter, Sylvia Martins. He is a practicing Buddhist and an active supporter of the Dalai Lama. Gere is also a persistent advocate for human rights in Tibet; he is a co-founder of the Tibet House, creator of The Gere Foundation, and he is Chairman of the Board of Directors for the International Campaign for Tibet. Because he strongly supports the Tibetan Independence Movement, he is permanently banned from entering The People's Republic of China. Gere was banned as an Academy Award presenter in 1993 after he used the opportunity to condemn the Chinese government. In September 2007, Gere called for the boycott of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games to put pressure on China to make Tibet independent. He starred in a politically themed pro-Tibet Lancia commercial featuring the Lancia Delta.
Average listal rating (1951 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 0
Thurman's father, Robert, a scholar and professor at Columbia University of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist studies, was the first westerner to be ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist monk. He gave his children a Buddhist upbringing: Uma is named after an Dbuma Chenpo (in Tibetan, the "db" is silent; from Mahamadhyamaka in Sanskrit, meaning "Great Middle Way"). She has three brothers, Ganden (b. 1971), Dechen (b. 1973) and Mipam (b. 1978), and a half-sister named Taya (b. 1960) from her father's previous marriage. She and her siblings spent time in Almora, India, during childhood, and the Dalai Lama sometimes visited their home.
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Seagal is also a recording artist and guitarist and the founder of Steven Seagal Enterprises. In addition to his professional achievements, he is also known as an environmentalist, an animal rights activist and, like other actors such as Richard Gere, is a supporter of Tenzin Gyatso the 14th Dalai Lama and the cause of Tibetan independence. Spiritualism and Buddhism play an important role in Seagal's life and he has been recognized by Tibetan lama Penor Rinpoche as a reincarnated Tulku. According to Seagal in a November 2006 interview: "I was born very different, clairvoyant and a healer"
Parker has identified culturally and ethnically with her father's religion, Judaism, although she has had no religious training. And then in recent years she developed an interest in Buddhism, reading books by Ajahn Brahm and other Buddhist teachers. She has said that even while her family lived in Cincinnati, her mother emulated a New York lifestyle.
Parker is a prominent member of the Hollywood's Women's Political Committee. She is UNICEF's Representative for the Performing Arts; in 2006, she traveled to Liberia as a UNICEF celebrity ambassador. She said, "It's a place that gets little or no attention, so we're going to try and bring some attention to it". She is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for the United States.
Average listal rating (1180 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 0
Hudson is of English, Hungarian, Italian, and Ashkenazi Jewish descent, and was raised in the Jewish and Buddhist religions; as her family also practiced Buddhism.
In the early 1990s, Stone became a member of the Church of Scientology. Stone remained with the religion until recently when she converted to Vajrayana Buddhism, after fellow actor Richard Gere introduced her to the Dalai Lama.
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Average listal rating (3450 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 0
He and wife Angelina Jolie teach Buddhism to their son Maddox and have been seen frequenting Buddhist temples.
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Average listal rating (286 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 0
Sting has incorporated some aspects of vegetarianism into his diet, but is not a vegetarian in any regular use of the term. He follows Vajrayana Buddhism.
She and husband Brad Pitt teach Buddhism to their son Maddox and have been seen frequenting Buddhist temples.
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Average listal rating (798 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 0
Chan is a Buddhist and has always wanted to be a role model to children, remaining popular with them due to his good-natured acting style. He has refused to play villains and has almost never used the "F word" in his films. Chan's greatest regret in life is not having received proper education, inspiring him to fund educational institutions around the world. He funded the construction of the Jackie Chan Science Centre at the Australian National University and the establishment of schools in poor regions of China. He has promised over half of his estate to go to charity after he dies.
Average listal rating (417 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 0
Li is a practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism. His master is Lho Kunsang of the Drikung Kagyu lineage of the Kagyu school.
He officially became a Buddhist in December of 2008 taking refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha at a temple. (A ceremony is not required, but he chose to do so formally.)
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Zen Buddhism

Zen is a school of Mahayana Buddhism[note 1] that developed in China during the 6th century as Chán. From China, Zen spread south to Vietnam, northeast to Korea and east to Japan.

The word Zen is derived from the Japanese pronunciation of the Middle Chinese word 禪 (dʑjen) (pinyin: Chán), which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word dhyāna, which can be approximately translated as "absorption" or "meditative state".
Zen emphasizes insight into Buddha-nature and the personal expression of this insight in daily life, especially for the benefit of others. As such, it de-emphasizes mere knowledge of sutras and doctrine and favors direct understanding through zazen and interaction with an accomplished teacher.

The teachings of Zen include various sources of Mahāyāna thought, especially Yogācāra, the Tathāgatagarbha Sutras and Huayan, with their emphasis on Buddha-nature, totality, and the Bodhisattva-ideal. The Prajñāpāramitā literature[12] and, to a lesser extent, Madhyamaka have also been influential.
"I became a Zen student in 1986. Prior to that I'd read a great deal about it. Authors like Kerouac and Ginsberg captured my imagination with their style and fascination with Buddhism. Straight Dharma books always caught my eye as well and I read a fair amount before finding a teacher. At the time my career was on a downswing and my love life had fallen apart. I knew I needed something to get me moving in a positive direction. On old friend, John Miller, a bassist and musical contractor in NYC, took me to an Introduction to Zen Practice at the Zen Community of New York (ZCNY) for my thirty-first birthday. I never looked back. (...) Within the Peacemaker Circle are a group of practitioners who have become members of the Zen Peacemaker Order and I am one of them. As I mentioned before my work is to bring Zen meditation to Belfast N. Ireland. Over the last several years we've conducted Many types of workshops that have been lead by Paul Haller, abbot of San Francisco Zen Center, Father Robert Kennedy, S. J. of St. Peter's College in Jersey City, U.S.A, and others.. You can find out more about it here. Belfast is an incredible place to teach meditation. You can read more about my work in Belfast in this article from the North Belfast News."

Average listal rating (667 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 0
Bridges has studied Buddhism and meditates for half an hour before beginning work on a film set. He carries with him a portable altar and meditation set.
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In 1994, Cohen retreated to the Mt. Baldy Zen Center near Los Angeles, beginning what became five years of seclusion at the center. In 1996, Cohen was ordained as a Rinzai Zen Buddhist monk and took the Dharma name Jikan, meaning "silence". He served as personal assistant to Kyozan Joshu Sasaki Roshi.
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Average listal rating (68 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 0
Jobs traveled to India with a Reed College friend (and, later, the first Apple employee), Daniel Kottke, in search of spiritual enlightenment. He came back a Buddhist with his head shaved and wearing traditional Indian clothing (not required in Buddhism, see: Clothes & fashion).

Jobs married Laurene Powell, on March 18, 1991. Presiding over the wedding was the Zen Buddhist monk Kobun Chino Otogowa.

He is a Buddhist and a vegetarian.
In 1976, he was hired to teach at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. He received early tenure in three years at UW, then early full professorship after another three years, following the publication of his second novel, Oxherding Tale (1982), a slave narrative steeped in Eastern thought, and referring to the classic “10 Oxherding Pictures” of 16th-century artist Kakuan Shien. A student of Buddhism and Eastern thought all his life, as well as a student of Sanskrit since 1998, Johnson took on November 14, 2007 formal vows in the Soto Zen tradition (the 10 Precepts) with mendicant monk Claude AnShin Thomas, author At Hell’s Gate: A Soldier’s Journey From War to Peace (2004). Johnson is a contributing writer for Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, and publishes regularly in Shambhala Sun, Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly, and has contributed to Turning Wheel: The Journal; of Socially Engaged Buddhism. A collection of these writings appeared in Turning the Wheel: Essays on Buddhism and Writing (Scribner, 2003), and will be followed by a sequel, The Joy of Being Buddhist: Dharma Essays and Stories from Shambhala Press. In summing up his aesthetic and spiritual positions, Johnson often calls himself, "a phenomenological Buddhist."

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