Famous Buddhists?


#1

It is hard to reconcile the celebrity lifestyle with the practices involved in Buddhism.
However, I can think of some examples of famous people turning to Buddhism - particularly after some realisation that fame and material wealth is not that important.

One such celebrity I think would be Jet Li.

The internationally well-known Kungfu Emperor and the contemporary Chan Master Venerable Sheng Yen held a dialogue session: “Anonymous vs. Ignorance” at the Family Theatre in the Taipei City Hall on September 6, 2003. More than 1500 people attended. Jet Li called out for the mass to do good and abstain from all evils. He started the conversation by relating his own experience to the topic for session; the wisdom in Buddhism helped him to break the bonds of fame and wealth. After five years of practicing Buddhism, he feels that he is now able to face failures in his work and the impermanence in life with joy. Venerable Sheng Yen concurs by pointing out that practicing Buddhism does not mean that we should shun fame and wealth altogether; it is important that we be contented with what we have. We should learn to make good use of wealth and fame, at the same time, learn not to be controlled or affected by it.
http://www.chancenter.org/chanctr/newscap/20030922.html

Five years ago, Jet Li took refuge with the Vajrayana Master Palme Khyentze Rinpoche. He became such a sincere Buddhist that at one time he planned to quit acting and devote all his time to practicing Buddhism. However, the Rinpoche told him, “You have yet to complete your purpose in life.” Not long after, he realized that his purpose in life is to use his influence and spread Buddhism through the modern cinematic and share his joy in attaining wisdom through Buddhism. Venerable Sheng Yen praised Jet Li’s setting a real life example of a practicing Buddhist. His well-known name could introduce Buddhism to an even greater crowd. That is a way of cultivation, and a way to spread Buddhism too.
http://www.chancenter.org/chanctr/newscap/20030922.html

Li says his strong belief in Buddhism as well as meditation and scripture reading help stabilise his condition.
https://www.scmp.com/sport/china/article/2146873/same-jet-li-we-all-know-martial-arts-legend-battles-illness-and-injuries


#2

Here is a excerpt of the dialogue between Master Sheng Yen and Jet Li on Buddhism (comes with English translation):


#3

A video of the full session of the dialogue between Master Sheng Yen and Jet Li can be found here. Note that there is no English translation.though.


#4

Another famous Buddhist that I am aware of is Andy Lau 刘德华.

Here is a clip of him singing the Heart Sutra (in Cantonese):