[Buddha-l] Confused

Richard Hayes rhayes at unm.edu
Mon Jun 7 13:00:59 MDT 2010

On Jun 7, 2010, at 11:48 AM, Jim Peavler wrote:

> When I was a kid I thought I would like to be eaten by a bear and return to the life-cycle immediately, but that option has seemed less attractive as I got older.

A couple of years ago, a workman who was, well, working on our house was very eager to show me something on the computer. He had just received an e-mail with a full-color photo of a young man lying dead in a beautiful mountain meadow, his legs having been eaten by a bear. It was a grisly scene. (I never promised there would be no puns on buddha-l.) That photograph pretty well put an end to my romantic fantasies of being killed and eaten by a bear. 

I still very much like the idea of feeding scavengers, if they promise to wait until I have stopped twitching before they begin their feast. Vultures, ravens and coyotes would suit me well, if they are not busy eating something more to their taste. The main problem I foresee is that most of my living relatives would be disinclined to put my corpse into the back seat of a car and to drive it out to the malpais country west of Albuquerque. Heck, I don't think they would even be willing to drag it out into the back yard to be fed to ants and cockroaches. The speed with which a colony of ants can devour a mouse or a bird in our yard still fills me with admiration and wonder. Admittedly, I'm bigger than the average mouse, but I bet the ants and roaches could still have me down to a neat pile of bones within a few days, well before the neighbors noticed.

Speaking of great Buddhist movies, my own personal favorite is Tobe Hooper's "Texas Chainsaw Massacre." That film was loosely based on a true story. I can still recall the original story in the newspapers. (I mean the real newspapers, not The National Inquirer.) An entire family of simple-minded folks got laid off at the local slaughterhouse. The only thing they knew how to do was kill things and butcher them, so when their unemployment insurance ran out, they eventually put their skills to work by digging up fresh corpses at the cemetery and turning them into sausages. When people stopped dying fast enough to keep the cemetery supplied, these resourceful fellows began to help people arrive on time for supper. Needless to say, Hollywood embellished the story and turned it into something horrific by making it take place in Texas—after all, who would go see a film called "The Alabama Unemployment Problem"? But even the movie managed to preserve the point that people who are willing to eat the flesh of sentient beings are just a short step away from cannibalism, just as it says in the sutras.

Time for lunch.


More information about the buddha-l mailing list