Buddhism

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Buddhist monk moonlighting as a make-up artist

The man who finds Buddhism in mascara
Kodo Nishimura is a make-up artist from Japan. He leads an unusual double life, as he is also a fully trained Buddhist monk.

As a gay man, he has found that Buddhism has accepted his sexuality. Some of his followers on Instagram ask for his advice, telling him that their families frown upon homosexuality because of their religion in their parts of the world. For Kodo, Buddhism has instead shown him equality, and encouraged him to be himself. 

In Japan, Buddhist monks can have other careers alongside their life as a monk. Kodo got to train as a make-up artist in the US, and he believes that allowing monks to lead lives outside the monastery has helped the faith survive in contemporary Japanese society. 

Camera: Jiro Kumakara
Producer: Sophia Smith Galer