Tina Turner is an international treasure. In her 81 years, her incomparable talent and incredible tenacity have taken her from the backwoods of Nutbush, Tenn. to global fame (and now living in Zurich, Switzerland), transcending genres and generations, and making her an icon for the ages. But when we say Tina has soul, her decades-long devotion to Buddhism has to be part of the conversation—and it’s the focus of her latest book, Happiness Becomes You: A Guide to Changing Your Life for Good.
“I’m a survivor by nature, but I’ve had help, and I don’t mean success, or money, although I’ve been blessed with both,” Turner writes (h/t Vanity Fair). “The help that has been essential to my well-being, my joy, and my resilience is my spiritual life.”
The book is actually the second released by Turner this year; her first authorized pictorial autobiography, That’s My Life, was published by Rizzoli in October. But in a year that has brought unpredictable and unprecedented trauma, the hard-fought wisdom of the original “Ms. Tina” is right on time.
Per publishers Simon & Schuster:
Tina is a global icon of inspiration. And now, with Happiness Becomes You: A Guide to Changing Your Life for Good, Tina shows how anyone can overcome life’s obstacles—even transform the “impossible” to possible—and fulfill our dreams. She shows how we, too, can improve our lives, empowering us with spiritual tools and sage advice to enrich our unique paths.
Buddhism has been a central part of Tina Turner’s life for decades and, in music, film, and live performances, she has shined as an example of generating hope from nothing, breaking through all limitations, and succeeding in life. Drawing from the lessons of her own life, from adversity to stratospheric heights, Tina effortlessly shows how the spiritual lessons of Buddhism help her transform from sorrow, adversity, and poverty into joy, stability, and prosperity.
In an exclusive interview with Vanity Fair, Turner, who famously documented her personal history of abuse, exploitation, bankruptcy, and even a past suicide attempt amid her storied career with help from former MTV News anchor Kurt Loder in 1986's I, Tina (the basis for the now-classic film What’s Love Got to Do With It). Nearly thirty-five years later, she has far more insight to share on how she’s coped with life’s most devastating losses (including her son Craig’s 2018 suicide and a series of health crises, including a cancer battle and a 2013 stroke). As she told Vanity Fair, that wisdom is now coming to bear in this universally difficult time.
“The world is experiencing more angst and instability than we’ve seen in a long time,” she says. “When so many people are facing adversity, I want to share the ways I increased my positivity and overcame every obstacle in my life, even the most impossible circumstances I faced. I know if I can do it, everyone who reads Happiness Becomes You can do it too.”
Sharing that Buddhism “literally saved [her] life,” she explains that her chanting practice (“Nam-myoho-renge-kyo,” a mantra in recognition of the wisdom contained in the Lotus Sutra, and core to Nichiren Buddhist faith), provided “the clarity and strength to take charge of [her] own life,” she told VF.
Soon after I began chanting, I came to see that everything I needed to change my life for the better was already inside of me. I became more confident and hopeful, and the transformations I achieved through my spiritual practice helped me to become joyful and successful...This transformational process is called ‘changing poison into medicine.’ It’s an ancient concept that has become the hope-filled theme of my life. Simply put, it means that whenever some negativity, or a ‘poison,’ arises, we have the power within ourselves to find the hidden value in it, and to transform it into something beneficial, into a ‘medicine.’
Clearly, there’s been no shortage of negativity or proverbial poison in 2020, and while everyone might not gravitate to Buddhism, as Turner explains, some of its principles are universally applicable.
“In every crisis, frustration, or disaster is also the potential to learn, to grow, and to propel ourselves toward greater heights of wisdom and fulfillment than ever before,” she says, adding, “Real happiness is indestructible and does not depend on material circumstances, which constantly change. Real happiness starts with the conviction that being alive is itself a joy. And we already have within us everything we need to tap into this potential...Everyone has this ability, and I’m excited to share in this book exactly how to discover it.”
Happiness Becomes You: A Guide to Changing Your Life for Good is available now from Simon & Schuster.