My Buddha is Punk is a new documentary about a 25-year-old punk rocker in Burma, named Kyaw Kyaw, who uses his music to raise awareness of social issues. In an October 2015 Al Jazeera article about Burma’s punk activists, the athor wrote that Kyaw Kyaw blames the military dictatorship for ruining Burma’s education system, and is harshly critical of the radical Buddhist organization Ma Ba Tha.
Update — January, 2018: My Buddha is Punk is now available to rent on Vimeo.
“Some fans of the Ma Ba Tha sent me messages of warning [saying]: ‘We know who you are and where you live,'” Kyaw Kyaw told Al Jazeera. “[But] I don’t worry about what I did. I know that I say the truth.”
In April, 2017, a Washington Post photo essay illustrated how Burma’s punk movement is creating community and stirring up resistance to the human rights violations and repression of the government. “Punk rock is changing mentalities,” the authors wrote about the country.
Many Buddhists in the West have seen a notable confluence between Buddhism and punk, as manifest in the personages and work of Dharma Punk Noah Levine, Zen priest and punk bassist Brad Warner, Buddhist blogger and punk fan Tanya McGinnity, hardcore bassist and Chan teacher Guo Gu, Teenage Bottlerocket bassist Miguel Chen, and so on. Likewise, Buddhists in other countries have been drawn to punk’s DIY immediacy as a way to address suffering both personal and social.
For news about the film, follow My Buddha is Punk on Facebook. Read more about violence in Burma in “The Rise of Militant Monks” and “Buddhists Betray the teachings, and more on punk in this comprehensive reading list:
- A Punk Looks at Fifty
- Buddy Nielsen of Senses Fail on trauma, sexuality, and Buddhism
- Noah Levine talks Punk, Parenting, and the Heart of the Revolution
- Dharma Punx
- Why Punk & Buddhism Beats “Us Vs. Them”