University of Washington Tacoma

Access*: Interdisciplinary Journal of Student Research and Scholarship

Author Biography

My name is Jack Tran Robinett. My pronouns are he/him/his, I am an undergraduate student in the University of Washington Tacoma's School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences pursuing a degree in Environmental Sustainability. I am a first generation Vietnamese American student, born and raised in Tacoma, Washington, and I proudly identify with Tacoma's Vietnamese Buddhist community.

Document Type

Undergraduate Research Paper


This paper explores the appropriation of Buddhism in new age music and argues that New Age musicians should do better at representing Buddhist cultures. Beginning by discussing the popularity of mindfulness and its incorporation into secular settings, this paper highlights the historical connection between sounds, meditation, and spirituality, emphasizing the significance of music in religious expression. This paper then delves into the origins and essential teachings of Buddhism, and an overview of new age music, which uses ambient sounds to create a relaxing atmosphere. New age music also includes various elements of Buddhist practice, like chants, mantras, and ritual instruments like singing bowls. However, concern is raised about the potential misrepresentation of Buddhism in new age music. The harms of cultural appropriation are discussed, leading to concerns over the potential for stereotyping and racism to grow. Finally, the paper analyzes the cultural appropriation of Buddhism by new age artist Ashana, an American crystal singing bowl player and spiritual healing influencer. This analysis acknowledges that individuals may unknowingly appropriate elements from other cultures and suggests promoting a better understanding of cultural exchange. The overall aim is to inspire a more respectful and authentic representation of Buddhist cultures in new age music.


University of Washington Tacoma


TWRT 211: Argument And Research In Writing


Jacob Martens