The Buddhist philosophies of the great Indian thinker, Nagarjuna, are laced with the concepts of emptiness and “no-self”. Nothing exists apart from its parts, and in turn, all truths are conventional. Possessions, attachments, and essentially all phenomena lack inherent nature. Although this may seem like a dire mindset, it is very much the opposite. It introduces the idea that anyone can align with any frequency and can, in turn, adopt a name and an identity as their own. Such is the story of Nagarjuna Buddha, born in Miami, FL in 1978. A cycle that may very well have continued in anger, violence, and imbalanced energy only set him in motion to find ultimate truth. What began as a life of mostly turmoil became preparation for the path to enlightenment.
As a child, Juna (later adopting the name Nagarjuna Buddha) grew up freestyling and using music as an outlet. Soon after, he moved to Little Rock, AK and 10 years later to upstate New York, but was unable to escape the anger and resentment that he felt as a result of his home life. A violent and domineering father paired with the constant pull of outside negative influence gave rise to robbing and stealing. He was very much on his own growing up, which led to the harmful behavior that landed him in a juvenile facility from the ages of 13-16. Upon his release Juna made his way back to his home town of Miami, FL. His freedom was short-lived, for only 6 months went by before a violent shoot-out with the police landed him in prison until the age of 34. In those 16 long years he was able to take an objective look at himself and the world around him, and with his mind alone he was able to put things back together. With this mental clarity followed a sense of purpose and, along with it, other avenues in consciousness began to open up.
With this expansion in psyche came other ideas developed by his philosopher counterpart, such as the concept of relativity. Nothing possesses inherent properties save its relationship to something else. Music, for instance, is neither good nor bad and can be utilized from a place of intellect or ignorance. Juna takes influence from all music, as all music is expression. It’s a means to inner peace, a path to elevation, and can be used to brand your lifestyle and identity as an artist. Soul, punk, hip hop, reggae, and especially blues have inspired Juna’s sound. While in prison, he began writing and listening to anything he could get his hands on. Muddy Waters in particular has become his go-to catalyst for creative innovation.
The same idea can be said for people. No individual is innately pure nor evil. While certain decisions and influences may have resulted in several years behind bars, conscious choices and a desire to change gave way to enlightenment. Meditation became a daily practice for Juna, expanding his mind to allow a more positive stream of energy to flow through him. He was able to tap into Buddhist ideologies and, in turn, realized that we are made to know everything. This is the message Juna seeks to spread through his music: Become a vessel. Deviate from your programmed line of thinking and rid yourself of the concepts you hold inside. Only then can you channel the one true essence of all that is. Only then can you ride the wave that is both everything and nothing, to become the namesake of a 2nd century Buddhist philosopher.
Now three years out of prison, Juna has been adapting to social situations with more confidence and a clearer vision. His focus is on his teachings and music, and his dreams and movement are becoming more lucid by the day. He has recorded at every stop along his journey- from Humbolt County to Portland to Seattle- and has been bringing together all of the song-writing components that he learned while in prison. His current project, “Invincible”, is a testament to the hard work and dedication he now possesses. Juna’s path has led him to encounter like-minded individuals who have helped him to bring this project to fruition. Recorded entirely at AD1 Studios in Seattle, WA, “Invincible” has been shaped by two local producers, J Lee and Mizz Hitz. Nagar Juna’s positive-message-driven hip hop is full of energy, with a sound that is truly one-of-a-kind.
While his musical goals may mirror other creatives- acquiring management, performing, recording, and achieving success as an artist- his ultimate intention is much more selfless. It starts with his desire for everyone to know who they are: the Buddha. All people can know what the monks know. Juna seeks to be the one who delivers the true meaning and message of creation. All music, but hip hop more specifically, is such a powerful tool for delivering the new prophecy. It can influence people into a life of crime or a life of mysticism, the latter being Juna’s wish for the masses.
A lifestyle of high elevation is the key to delivering this message. If we all are living meditation, where our dream is our single focal point, there will be no distractions to keep us from achieving them. The truth is in your desires, and they cannot be stopped. The universe is trying to tell you something. Are you listening?
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