Hugh Laurie on Impermanence and Victoria Wood on Reincarnation

A few weeks ago I listened to Stephen Fry’s musical favourites when he appeared on BBC Radio 4’s “Desert Island Discs”. One of the tracks he chose was his long-standing friend Hugh Laurie singing a blues song called “Changes” which is sung to the tune of the old hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” I loved it, and it led me to purchase both of Hugh Laurie’s CDs of blues songs (I only needed a little excuse!).

Why is this relevant to this blog? Well, the song strikes me as communicating the Buddhist idea of impermanence very neatly. If I can muster the necessary technological expertise, I plan to make a little series of images communicating aspects of impermanence and use the track to accompany it. This will then be a handy teaching tool. Having been teaching introductions to Buddhism since, er, 2004, I find I need new ways of keeping myself interested in the familiar concepts and materials!

If anyone else has found other songs, videos or similar that help to explain key Buddhist concepts I’d love to hear about it!

The other Buddhist-themed song that I love is Victoria Wood’s “Reincarnation”. It has prompted some serious reflections on various aspects of Buddhist theories of karma and rebirth (no, really!) but I will leave those for another blog post perhaps… Meanwhile I hope it makes you laugh! (Unfortunately I have not yet found a way to integrate it into my teaching.)

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About naomiappleton

I work in the Divinity School at the University of Edinburgh, where I research and teach subjects related to South and Southeast Asian religions.
This entry was posted in Academia, Buddhism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Hugh Laurie on Impermanence and Victoria Wood on Reincarnation

  1. Hi Naomi,
    Thanks for this great post. Two resources come immediately to mind, and they both relate to dukkha: one is “Satisfaction,” by the Rolling Stones. The other is a great short clip by Louis CK about why he doesn’t allow his children to have cell phones. Here’s a link to a blog post I wrote about it: http://teachingasianreligions.com/2014/02/14/louis-ck-four-noble-truths/

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