Sunday, January 15, 2012

Abandoning Ship (video)

GIGLIO, Italy - The central message of Buddhism is not "Every man for himself." Someone might have told that to the captain of the Titanic or the Italian cruise liner Costa Concordia.

The ship's captain, Francesco Schettino, was arrested on Saturday and is being charged with the very serious crime of abandoning ship and lesser charges of multiple-manslaughter.

Do bodhisattvas say, "Women and children first?" Or is that just a normal consideration for compassionate human beings, particularly when they have caused the accident endangering others? See NYT for full story

Would benefiting others benefit me? Would sacrificing myself benefit others? Getting ahead on the backs of others is not getting ahead in the long run, although it often seems like it in the short term.
In the Jamie Lee Curtis comedy "A Fish Called Wanda," the non-fish Wanda's tells off her Zen Buddhist boyfriend Otto, pointing out: "The central message of Buddhism is not 'Every man for himself'!"

Otto: Don't call me stupid!
Wanda: Oh, right! To call you stupid would be an insult to stupid people! I've known sheep that could outwit you. I've worn dresses with higher IQs. But you think you're an intellectual, don't you, ape?
Otto: Apes don't read philosophy.
Wanda: Yes they do, Otto. They just don't understand it! Now let me correct you on a couple of things, okay? Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not "Every man for himself." And the London Underground is not a political movement. Those are all mistakes, Otto. I looked them up.

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