A guest post by James Ishmael Ford about retiring the great Buddhist hymn, Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”.
I have a friend who says she wants her funeral to feature a New Orleans-style band dirge on its way to her gravesite and then to leave loudly playing “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Me, I think I’d like Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” played at my memorial service.
I think of “Hallelujah” as one of the great Western Buddhist hymns, even if the words are all about David, king of sinners. For me the way shines through within our brokenness, or perhaps it would be better to say exactly as our brokenness. And Cohen touches this as few others ever have. As such I’ve touched upon it a number of times in my blog. For instance here, where I also link to several other times I felt compelled to share a version…
Apparently lots of other people love it too. There have been so many covers it has become ubiquitous in some circles. And now it appears even Mr. Cohen thinks it could use a rest.
I have to agree. I liked when it appeared on West Wing. I was less enthusiastic when I heard it was featured in one of the Shrek flicks. And I was downright annoyed to learn it used as the background to a sex scene in Watchmen.
But the melody continues in the back of my mind. So, who knows when, if, it will play out…
In the meantime: can you think of another song by Cohen – or anyone else – that might take “Hallelujah”‘s place as a “great Western Buddhist hymn”?