He fulfilled his vow to be of benefit, & have fun doing so: Adam Yauch: MCA of the Beastie Boys.

Via Waylon Lewis
on May 4, 2012
get elephant's newsletter

You gotta fight for your right not to fit in a square box. To be of benefit to all others in need (Milarepa Fund, Tibetan Freedom Concerts). And to have fun along the way.

Only 47 years old. We’d reported on his cancer previously, but this speedy loss comes as an unwelcome shock.

He created the Tibetan Freedom Concerts:

The below wouldn’t be complete without:



He fulfilled his vow to be of benefit, and have fun doing so, and them some:


From two years ago, the announcement:

30 minutes, to cheer you up:

Yauch directed many of the Beastie Boys’ favorite videos:

Anthems of our sarcastic youth:

Free Tibet! Yauch and the Boys put on the huge Free Tibet concerts:


MTV, from a ways back:


Update: from beastieboys.com

Adam Yauch | 1964-2012

It is with great sadness that we confirm that musician, rapper, activist and director Adam “MCA” Yauch, founding member of Beastie Boys and also of the Milarepa Foundation that produced the Tibetan Freedom Concert benefits, and film production and distribution company Oscilloscope Laboratories, passed away in his native New York City this morning after a near-three-year battle with cancer. He was 47 years old.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Yauch taught himself to play bass in high school, forming a band for his 17th birthday party that would later become known the world over as Beastie Boys.

With fellow members Michael “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Adrock” Horovitz, Beastie Boys would go on to sell over 40 million records, release four #1 albums–including the first hip hop album ever to top the Billboard 200, the band’s 1986 debut full length, Licensed To Ill–win three Grammys, and the MTV Video Vanguard Lifetime Achievement award. Last month Beastie Boys were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, with Diamond and Horovitz reading an acceptance speech on behalf of Yauch, who was unable to attend.

In addition to his hand in creating such historic Beastie Boys albums as Paul’s Boutique, Check Your Head, Ill Communication, Hello Nasty and more, Yauch was a founder of the Milarepa Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting awareness and activism regarding the injustices perpetrated on native Tibetans by Chinese occupational government and military forces. In 1996, Milarepa produced the first Tibetan Freedom Concert in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, which was attended by 100,000 people, making it the biggest benefit concert on U.S. soil since 1985’s Live Aid. The Tibetan Freedom Concert series would continue to stage some of the most significant benefit shows in the world for nearly a decade following in New York City, Washington DC, Tokyo, Sydney, Amsterdam, Taipei and other cities.

In the wake of September 11, 2001, Milarepa organized New Yorkers Against Violence, a benefit headlined by Beastie Boys at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom, with net proceeds disbursed to the New York Women’s Foundation Disaster Relief Fund and the New York Association for New Americans (NYANA) September 11th Fund for New Americans–each chosen for their efforts on behalf of 9/11 victims least likely to receive help from other sources.

Under the alias of Nathanial Hörnblowér, Yauch directed iconic Beastie Boys videos including “So Whatcha Want,” “Intergalactic,” “Body Movin” and “Ch-Check It Out.” Under his own name, Yauch directed last year’s Fight For Your Right Revisited, an extended video for “Make Some Noise” from Beastie Boys’ Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, starring Elijah Wood, Danny McBride and Seth Rogen as the 1986 Beastie Boys, making their way through a half hour of cameo-studded misadventures before squaring off against Jack Black, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly as Beastie Boys of the future.

Yauch’s passion and talent for filmmaking led to his founding of Oscilloscope Laboratories, which in 2008 released his directorial film debut, the basketball documentary Gunnin’ For That #1 Spot and has since become a major force in independent video distribution, amassing a catalogue of such acclaimed titles as Kelly Reichardt’s Wendy and Lucy, Oren Moverman’s The Messenger, Banksy’s Exit Through The Gift Shop, Lance Bangs and Spike Jonze’s Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait Of Maurice Sendak, and many more.

Yauch is survived by his wife Dechen and his daughter Tenzin Losel, as well as his parents Frances and Noel Yauch.


License to Ill—a huge part of many of our childhoods.

A meditator and Buddhist, his work with the Free Tibet! concerts was huge in the 90s.

We’ll report more as we know more.

For now: videos, previous blogs, click here.

Free Tibet!


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


8 Responses to “He fulfilled his vow to be of benefit, & have fun doing so: Adam Yauch: MCA of the Beastie Boys.”

  1. Kenny G says:

    Bodhisattva Vow- Beastie Boys

    As I develop the awakening mind I praise the buddha as they shine
    I bow before you as I travel my path to join your ranks,
    I make my full time task
    For the sake of all beings I seek
    The enlighted mind that I know I’ll reap
    Respect to shantideva and all the others
    Who brought down the darma for sisters and brothers
    I give thanks for this world as a place to learn
    And for this human body that I know I’ve earned
    And my deepest thanks to all sentient beings
    For without them there would be no place to learn what I’m seeing
    There’s nothing here that’s not been said before
    But I put it down now so I’ll be sure
    To solidify my own views and I’ll be glad if it helps
    Anyone else out too

    If others disrespect me or give me flack
    I’ll stop and think before I react
    Knowing that they’re going through insecure stages
    I’ll take the opportunity to exercise patience
    I’ll see it as a chance to help the other person
    Nip it in the bud before it can worsen
    A change for me to be strong and sure
    As I think on the buddhas who have come before
    As I praise and respect the good they’ve done
    Knowing only love can conquer in every situation
    We need other people in order to create
    The circumstances for the learning that we’re here to generate
    Situations that bring up our deepest fears
    So we can work to release them until they’re cleared
    Therefore, it only makes sense
    To thank our enemies despite their intent

    The bodhisattva path is one of power and strength
    A strength from within to go the length
    Seeing others are as important as myself
    I strive for a happiness of mental wealth
    With the interconnectedness that we share as one
    Every action that we take affects everyone
    So in deciding for what a situation calls
    There is a path for the good for all
    I try to make my every action for that highest good
    With the altruistic wish to achive buddhahood
    So I pledge here before everyone who’s listening
    To try to make my every action for the good of all beings
    For the rest of my lifetimes and even beyond
    I vow to do my best to do no harm
    And in times of doubt I can think on the dharma
    And the enlightened ones who’ve graduated samsara

  2. […] Yauch, whom I was fortunate enough to work with for some years, it would be backstage at the first Tibetan Freedom Concert in Golden Gate Park in […]

  3. Kristie says:

    So sad… Beastie Boys were the soundtrack of many a good memory for me. 🙁

  4. ValCarruthers says:

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Spirituality Homepage.

    Valerie Carruthers
    Please go and "Like" Elephant Spirituality on Facebook

  5. […] RIP MCA: Bodhisattva Vow! You gotta fight for your right not to fit in a square box. To be of benefit to all others in need. A… […]

  6. […] “You gotta fight for your right not to fit in a square box. To be of benefit to all others in need. […]

  7. ValCarruthers says:

    Just posted to "Popular Lately" on the Elephant Spirituality Homepage.

    Valerie Carruthers
    Please go and "Like" Elephant Spirituality on Facebook