Here’s what the past 3 weeks looked like.
Enjoyed the Christmas lights in Astoria.
Felt cold. Made Shepherd’s Pie. Warmed up.
Made LOTS of LATKES
Visited Chuang Yen Monastery in Carmel, NY. Ate vegetarian lunch there. Began my meditation teacher training at Om Yoga in NYC.
Did some light hiking in the Hudson Highlands.
Made pumpkin biscotti with my sister.
Decided to move and looked at apartments.
Decided not to move. Started to redecorate instead.
Read Ghost Light. Had dreams about meeting Synge.
Returned (most of) my Synge books to the Columbia library. Most of them.
Glad to be back! Hope your holidays were bright and restful!
The Muppet Christmas Carol - A Buddhist Perspective
This is the final scene at the end of “The Muppet Christmas Carol” after Scrooge, the greedy businessman, decides to change his life and be generous and giving and loving towards all beings - even to Muppets. (Now I see why Fox News was so vehemently against the new muppet movie.)
As an adult, I can now really appreciate how clever this movie is, and the humanitarian message of the Dickens novel, delivered in this context by -who else?- Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat.
I challenge you NOT to smile while you watch this movie. It’s impossible. Reasons:
- Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit
- Kermit and Miss Piggy’s adorable frog and pig children
- Michael Caine dancing
- Tiny Tim frog muppet and his tiny crutches — who does NOT die!
- Jacob and “Robert” (Bob?) Marley, the heckling ghosts
- Animal on the drums at “Fozziwig’s” Christmas party
- Beaker gives Michael Caine his red scarf at the end
Not to mention that there were a few lines/moments that jumped out at me, from a Buddhist perspective:
- Even though Scrooge makes his life miserable, Kermit gives thanks for him at dinner with his family (Miss Piggy would rather curse him out). But Kermit is practicing right speech and non-aggression, not wishing for anything bad to befall a fellow being.
- Kermit sings to his family, “Let us run from anger.” Maybe “run” isn’t the best word, or the word I’d choose, but not being fueled by anger and not immediately acting on anger is a great mindfulness practice
- Tiny Tim is seemingly self-less, and even though he is crippled and quite ill, everything he says contains a message of love.
- When Scrooge is visited by the ghosts of the Marleys, they’re covered in chains. “We forged our chains in life by our acts of greed,” they tell him. A great metaphor for karma, and the freedom that comes from generosity and not clinging to our attachments.
- After he is visited by the three ghosts, Scrooge resolves to live his life “in the past, present, and the future.” When we think of Buddhism we think about living in the present, but mindfulness of the present moment depends on learning from the past, with aspirations towards a compassionate future (as I understand it, anyway).
- “The love we found/ we carry with us/ so we’re never quite alone” - a great message about lovingkindness
If only real life were as fabulous as a Muppet movie. Or if only everyone in the world watched “The Muppet Christmas Carol.” (But that would be too simple, right?)
I mean if even Animal can learn to meditate (though I don’t think that James Coburn is the greatest meditation instructor…)