Published in 2020, Tina Turner has given us one more memoir, of her more than eight decades on this earth. She is able to weave in the influence of her spiritual practice with her tales of growing up in Nutbush, Tennessee and becoming an international superstar.
She sang out loud and chanted in secret. This is what Anna Mae did when her then-husband wasn’t around, she chanted for her life. Unlike what was commonly believed, through the depiction in the stellar film “What’s Love Got to do with It?”, she was introduced to Nichiren Buddhism through a white woman who Ike brought to the home. His house. His rules. How interesting his karma to have delivered absolute happiness to someone he was abusing. Her relative happiness could be identified in her ability to get out of his house, out of the contracts and keep her stage-name. Her absolute happiness could be identified in her ability to forgive him and pray for his happiness and healing.
Tina Turner touches on common topics in any person’s life: difficult family relationships, societal pressures, and impasses that prevent someone from doing and being what they desire. Anna Mae cannot deny the racist structures that ruled around her, the seasons picking cotton, and becoming a mother in her teen years. There is common magic here, in her words, her stories that reveal how vulnerable people still have limitless potential and can make what they perceive as impossible, possible.
Tina discusses how the 10 Worlds function in her life (from her buddhist practice). The 10 worlds are the ten states of life: hell, hunger, animality, anger, humanity, heaven, learning, realization, bodhisattva and Buddhahood. The Buddhist terminology would label the 10 worlds as follows: the realms of hell, hungry spirits, animals, asuras, human beings, heavenly beings, voice-hearers, cause-awakened ones, bodhisattva and Buddhas. The mutual possession of the 10 worlds means that each of the 10 worlds has all of the 10 worlds inherent within it. Subsequently within the 10 worlds are the 10 factors. The 10 factors of life are 10 aspects shared by all living beings of the 10 worlds. These include appearance, nature, entity, power, influence, internal cause, relational, latent affect, manifest affect, and their consistency from beginning to end.
From “The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace: Selections from the works of Daisaku Ikeda” the 10 worlds are broken down into habit patterns. “just as a spring returns to its original shape after being stretched, people tend to revert to their own basic tendency. But even if one’s basic life tendency is the world of hell, it doesn’t mean that one will remain in that state 24 hours a day. That person will still move from one life state to another — for instance, sometimes manifesting the world of humanity, sometimes the world of anger, and so on… Even if they momentarily manifest the world of bodhisattva, however, they will quickly revert to their basic life tendency of the world of anger.”
This is to say that things are always going on. That roller coaster people often talk about, that’s what we’re all on, all the time. For some, the roller coaster is just creeping up to the highest height about to breach over the top. For others the roller coaster is taking the turns, which are exciting and also unnerving. This type of awareness is not for coaches and gurus and meditative practitioners. This type of awareness is for everyone to grasp, whatever their capacity. Wisdom is truly the notion of considering the same ideas with more depth, precision and relatability for all people.
Tina Turner is an example of a life of gratitude. Not one of perfection and protection from pain or public scrutiny. She faced each phase of her life as a rebirth. To be born a human is rare. To be reborn in the same lifetime into enlightenment through the wisdom of one’s suffering is the ultimate expression of Buddha-nature.