‘She was not afraid of dying’: Tibetan musician speaks about Tina Turner’s Buddhist faith

‘She was not afraid of dying’: Tibetan musician speaks about Tina Turner’s Buddhist faith
Michelle De Pacina
May 30, 2023
Tibetan Buddhist mantra musician Dechen Shak-Dagsay said Tina Turner, who died last week, was “not afraid of dying” as she discussed the singer’s Buddhist faith. 
Turner, who was known as the Queen of Rock, died at the age of 83 in her home in Zurich, Switzerland, on May 24. Although the cause of her death has not been revealed to the public, she was known to be dealing with kidney disease and other illnesses in recent years. 
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Shak-Dagsay, with whom Turner recorded three albums, said the legendary singer was in fact “looking forward to the afterlife.” 
“I did not see Tina for the last couple of years after she began suffering serious health problems. But I know she was not afraid of dying,” Shak-Dagsay said. 
“In the Buddhist tradition at a certain part of your life you choose to retreat. This is a very important phase of your life because preparation for death is something considered the most important part of human life,” the musician explained. 

Shak-Dagsay said that Turner was introduced to Buddhism while in an abusive relationship with her former husband, Ike Turner. 
According to the Los Angeles Times, Tina Turner was convinced to start practicing Soka Gakkai International Nichiren Buddhism by Valerie Bishop, a member of the Soka Gakkai community that is active throughout West Los Angeles, where the Turners previously lived.
“I started really seeing that I had to make a change,” Turner said in the 2021 HBO documentary “Tina.” “I started to become much more confident. I mean, not even caring what Ike thought about me — becoming less afraid of him.”
According to Shak-Dagsay, Turner told her that “she would never have been able to overcome all the pain she suffered and the struggle she endured during her first marriage without reciting the Buddhist mantras,” noting that the religion “gave her the strength to carry on.”
Over the years, Turner and Shak-Dagsay incorporated their Buddhist faith and insights into their beliefs.
Shak-Dagsay explained that Turner believed in reincarnation just ​​like all Buddhists. 
“It is a pillar of our religion. Without reincarnation Buddhism does not make sense,” Shak-Dagsay told the Daily Mail.

It’s all about karma. That is why I admire her for retreating for the past couple of years, preparing for her death. Tina is not gone. Her spirit, her energy continues. And she had the freedom to prepare for that.

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