Friday, December 18, 2015

Xmas: Famous American Buddhist (video)

Ashley Wells, CC Liu, Seth Auberon, Wisdom Quarterly;; Wiki Simpsons
This year, rise above it, the commercial madness, to find peace within: meditate.
Lisa Simpson became a Buddhist on Christmas one year ("She of Little Faith," Episode 6, Season 13), and here's how she became a healthy and compassionate vegetarian.
Famous American and Lisa meditate
One night, Lisa Simpson prays to the Christian God and assures him she has not turned her back on him, but plans to seek a new path to him.

While on a walk around town passing many sacrilegious signs, she discovers Springfield's Buddhist temple. Inside she sees Lenny and Carl meditating. 

Karma means hope (Tebohohope1).
Then famous Hollywood actor Richard Gere teaches her the core concepts of Buddhism.

An intrigued Lisa takes a pamphlet on Buddhism and studies it at home. It convinces her of the virtues of the path, and Lisa announces out her window she has found the way and has become and will always be a Buddhist.

Buddha statue under a bodhi tree (Ficus religiosa) with lanterns (Napon Tippayamon/flickr).

She plants her own bodhi tree in the back yard and begins to meditate. But her mother Marge gets worried about her soul and tries to convince her to come back to Christianity.
How do we find meaning in this life?
At the church council, Reverend Lovejoy tells Marge to use Christmas to bribe impressionable Lisa back! So like a "good" mother, Marge bakes cookies, decorates, and has Ralph and Milhouse dress as a pony in wrapping paper to tempt Lisa. But Lisa runs away from home when she realizes what's going on.

At the Buddhist temple she tells Richard Gere that her family tried to trick her. Then Gere informs her that while Buddhism is about finding inner peace, it is also about respecting the diversity of other religions based on love and compassion.

So Lisa is free to celebrate any holiday with her friends and family, even Christmas. Lisa returns home, falling asleep beside the Scandinavian pagan tree, and tells everyone that she will be celebrating Xmas with them.

Under the Bodhi tree (Romila Barryman)
And she will even continue paying lip service to Christianity, while actually practicing Buddhism for the rest of her life.

As Marge takes her to the kitchen to get the cookies, Lisa asks about her pony, and Marge tries unsuccessfully to change the subject as Lisa calls out for her gift. More

You are supposed to want stuff, and enjoy it. Nirvana is the best.

A famous American Buddhist
American Buddhist Richard Gere and the 14th Dalai Lama, Tibetan spiritual leader.

In a countdown of extremely religious Hollywood figures, most of them Catholic, one Buddhist is mentioned. The world already knew thanks in large part to a very special episode of "The Simpsons" when Lisa repulsed by the hypocrisy surrounding the way we celebrate Xmas in the U.S.

Dalai Lama, Glastonbury
The Dalai, his good American friend, and the little known Springfield Buddhist Temple (Shelbyville probably has one, too) help her realize that she  Richard Gere is a practicing Tibetan Buddhist [Vajrayana].

He said in an interview with Frontline: "People often ask me what is it about his Holiness [the Dalai Lama], and ultimately the only thing that I really say is you feel safe. This is someone who wants nothing from you.

US celebrated Dalai Lama's 80th
"Except for you to be happy. That's it. Doesn't want your money. Doesn't want your time. Wants you to be happy and knows that there is a path that if you give yourself to it with courage and commitment you will ultimately be happy.

"I mean not one lifetime maybe many hundreds of millions of lifetimes of world systems of lifetimes. But it will happen and when you encounter his Holiness you believe that. It's real. It's true.

FPMT"And other things start to fall away. You know the kind of egocentricity falls away and self-consciousness falls away in the golden light of that feeling." More
(FPMT) "Discovering Buddhism," Module 1: Mind and its Potential

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