Buddhist Monk Covers Metallica's "Enter Sandman," Goes Viral
The best thing you’ll see on the internet today is this cover of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” by a Buddhist monk named Kossan. With the electric guitar line from the song playing in the background, Kossan sings and plays the mokugyo (wooden fish) and keisu (bowl bell), two of the four musical instruments traditionally found in Buddhist temples.
In addition to the radically different instrumentation, Kossan swaps out the reading of the bedtime prayer “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep” during the bridge with a recording of Shigu Seigan Mon, the four great vows of Boddhisatva that are sung every morning in Mahayana Buddhist temples. Much like the eery rendition of the 18th-century prayer they replaced, the four vows sound pleasant and positive on their own but downright sinister over that famous guitar riff and next to downright dark lyrics.
The end result is a delightfully unique, eminently watchable cover of the song, which has already lived several lives (notably as Mariano Rivera’s walk-out song) since its release in 1991. It joins “God Bless America” and The Beatles‘ “All My Loving” covers on Kossan’s channel, but it’s by far the most popular, racking up over 22,000 views in just a few days.
Once he howls the final “Take my hand” of the song, Kossan calmly puts down the bai (the cloth-covered stick used to play the mokugyo) and his headphones before closing his eyes and meditating, silently, for the remaining nearly four minutes of the video.
Is it captivating video? No, but it does drive home the point that this dude is not just playing a monk on TV. By the end, when he smiles, clasps his hands, and gives a short bow toward the camera, you might be tempted to bow right back.