Nick Cave’s latest album, Ghosteen, is a eulogy for his 15-year-old son Arthur who died after falling from the Ovingdean Gap near Brighton, England. The last song on the double album, the 14-minute “Hollywood”, ends with the story of Kisa Gotami, the mother who asks Buddha for help with her dying baby. Buddha tells her to collect a mustard seed from every house in the village where no one has died. Kisa never gathers a single seed. Cave’s final eulogy, sung in falcetto, becomes a mournful cry that deeply enriches the meaning of the Buddhist story. Though Cave is probably not a Buddhist—indeed, he makes references to other religions on the album—his rendition of the Buddhist story is among the finest examples of the way that art powerfully conveys its depth of meaning.
If you love dharma culture and want to create more, jump into membership in Engage! Dharma Culture Club as a monthly patron. Through Dharma Culture Club, you’ll connect with other dharma culture creators, learn from and inspire each other.