Friday, June 1, 2012

"Snow White" and the movie reviews (video)

Ashley Wells, CC Liu, Irma Quintero, Wisdom Quarterly

Kristen Stewart, stepping away from the "Twilight" franchise, is turning into a sleeping beauty. Often accused of being inarticulate, wooden, even leaden, a female Keanu Reeves, this will be her chance to shine -- in sleep.

"Snow White and the Huntsman" (SWATH) is her chance to outdo the evil witch while playing with the affections of dwarfs.

Even Krampus (shown with siren chess player) might be baffled by Hollywood's Muse or the Fates: How could a "Twilight" star take down "MIB3" or "The Avengers" when the more beautiful Scarlett Johannson is starring in one of the most money-making movies of all time. (We can't imagine why).

That's how karma is, always working itself out in mysterious ways. Beauty, fame, and riches are no accident -- and they obviously do not always seem deserved. But deserved they are in some sense. They do not come from nothing, do not emerge from nowhere. There is a vast, unseen storehouse of merit to exhaust.

Often without realizing it, we conflate Judeo-Christian and Mahayana-Hindu values with what the Buddha taught. We assume they must be the same, that all religions are saying the same thing. The Buddha's explanation of karma was far different from anything anyone had ever taught. This includes the concept of merit and responsibility.

We merit what we get -- even when we seem to be stealing it. By stealing or cheating for undeserved advantage, we are only exhausting our store of merit (punya, profitable karma) and building up demerit (debt). "I" did not, ultimately speaking, do the former deed because there is no real continuity-in-identity. But it was not done by another. They are connected, sequentially, one influencing the other.

Out of compassion for who we will be (conventionally, not ultimately, speaking), we should store up acts of merit. They will be helpful and productive of happiness for a long time. But others will be jealous, confused, envious of our success. And we are not likely to put our profits to good use -- as enduring investments that yield timeless results (insight-wisdom and liberation).

It would have helped Snow White (the character) and the writers of the movie who, feeling like hacks, will probably be spending more time at art houses watching proper "films" like the biopic on the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill W. Or maybe they'll be dancing it out at "Battlefield America" and getting ready for Wednesday's US debut of Lunch Beat -- the latest dance craze sweeping the Continent.

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