Siddhārtha Gautama. PBS. Richard Gere. Well there you go, right? That’s our reverse path to enlightenment right? From the known to the unknown. Sound a little cynical? What I can say, last night my car got stolen. So I’m experiencing “impermanence” on a personal level. But I’m watching this program as a “refresher” course. And certainly PBS is no stranger to the world of the material, note the prompt to get on Facebook…
See I’ve had some weird things happen in my life that have allowed me to see “a lot.” SO when PBS programs airs programs like this (which if you think about it, isn’t so often) I try to at least catch some of it. I’ll watch the first hour anyway, before South Park comes on What can I say? I also need a little humor tonight. So what can YOU expect from the program if you catching right now or if you catch a reply in the future. Well you’ll get “the story.” The Buddha is considered to be one of the Big Three; Jesus, Allah and him. I mean you can throw a lot of other guys out there, from Mazda to John the Baptist, but those are the 3.
In the East and a good part of the West the Buddha is seen in many different lights; hence we have so many depictions of him. Obviously there are ZERO depictions of Allah, and most of the ones for Jesus pretty much look like 70’s motorcycle hippie. But if you look around you can find all kinds of Buddhas; fat, skinny, long hair, short hair, naked, robed, loinclothed. Just endless. Why? Well the obvious reason is that in society we all depict people and things as we want them. Hell, the “Chinese food” I’ve had in different countries would shock you. But another possible reason is the legend of the Buddha is that in his existence he is supposed to have taken many incarnations. Basically EVERY. And of course; he went through a period where he thought skinny would be good then later he realized he didn’t NEED to be super skinny (ascetic) to be enlightened. I guess you could say he’s the world’s first recovered anorexic. And of course the world’s greatest sitter.
The program goes out and gets the right people to tell the stories. A bunch of folks who were born Jewish and realized they had a different path (I’m looking at your Richard Alpert). For the 10 years I lived in LA and actively pursued “Eastern Philosophy” I met many, many, many of these folks. A few people in Asia and India. Oh, and Doc Thurman is there too. When I was studying Japanese language at Columbia University I passed an office one day and looked in on an old guy and the name on his door was “Thurman” so I asked one of my teachers who he was. She said he’s one of the, if not the top, most respected professor of Eastern Study in the US. Oh and he’s Uma’s dad. A few hours later I bumped into a kid who was looking for first year Japanese class named Sean. Turned out to be Lennon’s son. A WEEK later I meet a guy in passing named Gautama “I said, like the Buddha?” He says yeah, his dad DEEPAK named him that, but he’s going to start using a different one. I said, I’ll see you later Chopra. What a place, huh?
Like I said, weird life. But at some point this poor black kid managed to find himself in California and I did all that “road to enlightenment” stuff. I had had so much misery brought on by my wants and desire. Many years prior I had accidentally met the Dalai Lama, but it was a life changing moment. I really felt his “touch” gave me my woman. And now some twenty years later after being apart from her for many years, that was the woman I wrote today when I was distressed about the “loss” of my car. Some years ago, (15?) I was set on my path to learning when after a trip to Japan I learned my closest friend had been strangled to death on some back street.
I just couldn’t make sense of it. I had been hit by a car, the accident led to me getting a sum of money, the money was so much I gave some to him, had the money caused his death? Did every bad lead to a good. Did every good lead to a bad? Today I wrote a long email about how many downs I’ve had in life. And how even the times I’m lifted seem to only be so I can be dropped from greater heights….
Be here now
Great Ship, Lower
Wheel of Dharma
Om Mani Padme Hum
This is That, That is That and That’s all Folks!