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Music Icon Tina Turner Turns to Buddhist Principles in New Book

Tina Turner. From
Tina Turner. From

An award-winning singer-songwriter and a music icon to millions, with a career spanning some 60 years, Tina Turner’s multifaceted life and work has never been far from the headlines. Her latest venture, due to be released later this year, is a deeply personal book, titled Happiness Becomes You: A Guide to Changing Your Life for Good, which explores her longstanding relationship with Buddhism and seeks to share her experience and the wisdom she has gained from the timeless teaching, with the stated intention of helping others find happiness in their own lives.

“Now, I’m excited to announce my most recent project, Happiness Becomes You,” Turner, now 80 years old, shared in a recent post on her official Facebook page. “In this very personal book, I focus on core themes of my life: hope, happiness, and faith. Even more to me than an inspirational philosophy that guides me, the wisdom of Buddhism actually saved my life! I’ll share with you the simple principles that brought me joy and fulfillment beyond my wildest dreams, so you can realize your dreams, too. I’ll connect my experiences with the wisdom that helped me make the impossible possible and transform my life. Each page offers my heartfelt guidance to you for living with joy, because this is my greatest wish for you: that you become truly happy.” (Facebook)

Co-written with author Craig Taro Gold and close friend and singer Regula Curti, the book is due to be released toward the end of 2020.

“For decades, Tina’s life has shined brightly as an example of someone who can generate hope from nothing, break through all limitations, and achieve success that endures,” said publisher HarperCollins. “Drawing on the lessons of her own experiences—rising out of sorrowful lows to stratospheric heights—Tina illuminates the spiritual lessons that have helped her elevate from despair, adversity and poverty, to joy, stability, and prosperity.” (The Bookseller)

Born Anna Mae Bullock in 1939, in Brownsville, Tennessee, and raised a Baptist, Turner found refuge in Nichiren Buddhism in 1973. In interviews, she has described herself as a “Buddhist-Baptist,” and has credited reciting the Buddhist mantra Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō (Glory to the Dharma of the Lotus Sutra) with helping her to endure the many hardships of her tumultuous and, at times, harrowing life. In an interview published by the Buddhist website Lion’s Roar in 2016, Turner revealed that, “I consider myself a Buddhist. It is within me.” (Lion’s Roar)


Nichiren is a Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism based on the teachings of the 13th-century Japanese Buddhist priest Nichiren (1222–1282), with an emphasis on the innate Buddha-nature of all living beings, and a focus on the Lotus Sutra as the means for practitioners to attain enlightenment.

In the 2016 Lion’s Roar interview, Turner compared Buddhist chanting to singing, stating: “Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō is like a song. In the Soka Gakkai tradition we are taught how to sing it. It is a sound and a rhythm and it touches a place inside you. That place we try to reach is the subconscious mind. I believe that is the highest place.” (Lion’s Roar)


Over the course of her storied career, Turner, now a Swiss citizen, has collaborated with Tibetan Buddhists and met with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in Switzerland in 2005, which she cited as an inspiration for Beyond, a spiritual music project she co-founded in 2007 with fellow singers Regula Curti and Dechen Shak-Dagsay, combining Buddhist chants and Christian choral music with an emphasis on interfaith dialogue and global peace.

Beyond has since collaborated with a number of other musicians and singers, among them Sawani Shende-Sathaye from India, who has a Hindu background, and the celebrated Buddhist nun Ani Choying Drolma from Nepal.

“I have never separated my spiritual practice from my life as a rock singer,” Turner told the World Tribune, a publication of the Nichiren Buddhist organization Soka Gakkai, in 2018. “When I was going through the hardest times of my life, I was chanting Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō. Chanting helped me and changed my life for the better. I’ve left a good body of work as a rock singer, and I’ve made it very clear that it was because of my spiritual practice.” (World Tribune)

See more

Tina Turner writes ‘guide to life’ for HarperCollins (The Bookseller)
Tina Turner: What’s Love Got to Do With It? (Lion’s Roar)
The Queen of Hope: Tina Turner (World Tribune)
Tina Turner (Facebook)

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