Celebrities who practice Buddhism

To many, Buddhism goes beyond religion and is more of a philosophy or way of life. The main characteristics of this religion are tolerance of differences, non-violence and practice of meditation. There are around 350 million Buddhists and Buddhism is becoming more and more popular among celebrities too. Here are some stars that practice Buddhism or incorporate it into their religious practices.

Steven Seagal








Steven Seagal has been studying Buddhism since he was a boy, and in 1997, the action star was declared to be a reincarnated lama, or tulku (a sacred vessel of Tibetan Buddhism). Seagal also served as the American protector of the daughter of the tenth Panchen Lama while she was in college.  Seagal had heard she was in danger, so he contacted people in Tibet. “I spoke with my friends there, and they said I was one of the few people who could protect and take care of her… be her father figure, her guardian,” Seagal said. “Try to guide her so that she kept her heritage in the dharma… You’re born naked, you die naked… In between, you should find a spiritual guide.”

Uma Thurman








Her name comes from buddhist mythology. Raised buddhist, Thurman’s father is friends with the Dalai Lama and the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University and is the co-founder and president of Tibet House New York. Uma says, “When asked if I consider myself Buddhist, the answer is, Not really. But it’s more my religion than any other because I was brought up with it in an intellectual and spiritual environment. I don’t practice or preach it, however. But Buddhism has had a major effect on who I am and how I think about the world. What I have learned is that I like all religions, but only parts of them.”

Goldie Hawn








Raised in the Jewish religion, Hawn’s mom was Jewish and her dad was Presbyterian she did celebrate Christmas. Hawn became involved in Eastern philosophy in 1972. She is a practicing Buddhist and has raised her children in both Buddhist and Jewish traditions. Hawn travels to India annually, and has visited Israel, stating that she felt identification with its people.

Richard Gere








Among the most famous Buddhists in Hollywood, Richard Gere has been a very vocal supporter of human rights in Tibet and is often seen in the company of the Dalai Lama. Their first meeting even included a vital acting lesson for Gere: “‘So when you do this acting and you’re angry, are you really angry?’” Gere recalled His Holiness asking. “‘When you’re acting sad, are you really sad? When you cry, are you really crying?’ I gave him some kind of actor answer, like it was more effective if you really believed in the emotion that you were portraying. He looked very deeply into my eyes and just started laughing. Hysterically. He was laughing at the idea that I would believe emotions are real, that I would work very hard to believe in anger and hatred and sadness and pain and suffering.”

Jet Li








A devoted Tibetan Buddhist, Jet Li practices Qi Gong and daily meditation. He is an ambassador for the Red Cross Society of China, and founded the One Foundation Project, a charity that encourages volunteerism and charitable work. His personal website contains several essays he has written about Buddhism and religion in general, and a series of questions that fans have asked about his stance on religion and other spiritual issues.


Be Sociable, Share!

One response to “Celebrities who practice Buddhism”

  1. Sheldon says:

    Thanks for the interesting article. Now I know how many Buddhists are among Hollywood actors. Steven Seagal is the one I like most f all as a soul guardian and teacher. He is a very clam man and I can sense much of the knowledge and Buddhism practice in his eyes. I would like to start practicing Buddhism myself, but still hesitant. I think all religions teach use peace and love and harmony with ourselves and world around us and I am like Uma Thurman like only parts from each religion.