China/Taiwan: Ban on Tibetan rapper promoted sales of his album



Taiwan, Province of China:
Ban on Tibetan rapper promoted sales of his album

A religious group in Taiwan managed to get the goverment to ban the singer and rapper Singa Rinpoche from entering the country for one year. However, the ban only increased his popularity among the young Taiwanese audience

‘The singing monk’ – among his fans known as ‘the handsome lama’ – Singa Rinpoche is a 30-year-old Tibetan lama who lives in Qinghai Province in north-west China. When he was 16 years old, monks in a Tibetan monastery allegedly stated that he was the reincarnation of a high lama. He studied Tibetan Buddhism in India and Nepal for three years.

He was banned from entering Taiwan for one year by Taiwan‘s Government Information Office after having stirred up controversy on a previous visit to Taipei in 2006. Buddhists in Taiwan were upset about his behaviour and said he “acted more like a movie star than a munk”, wearing jeans instead of the lama’s red cloak, talking about glamour, cars, fashion and girls.

A group of Taiwan Buddhist disciples alledged Singa Rinpoche had not finished his Buddhist studies in India and had not been ordained, and felt that he violated Buddhist moral codes. They prompted the government to bar Singa Rinpoche from entering the country for one year.

Singa Rinpoche‘s songs combine chants of Buddhist sutras with rap, r&b and hip-hop, and he switches from Chinese to Tibetan and English. His songs quickly gained popularity among young Taiwanese. In the three months after the release of his debut album ‘Wish you Well’ in Taiwan, when Singa Rinpoche was banned from entering Taiwan, 30,000 people bought a copy of his CD. And when his record company Forward Music opened a blog for Singa Rinpoche, 100,000 people browsed it within the first week.

Most of the 12 songs on the CD-album were written and composed by a Taiwanese musician.

Singa Rinpoche

Music video with Singa Rinpoche

Debate: Singa Rinpoche’s way of mixing Buddhist Vajrasattva mantras with commercial pop and r&b is discussed by viewers on

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