Sunday, November 30, 2008

Our House Is a Very Fine House

Watched Bertolucci's Little Buddha with the children last night, finished off with a reading from Tich Nhat Hanh's book on Anger (followed by Georgette Heyer's The Unknown Ajax) and woke up to both children getting into the bed, one after the other, to discuss meditation, anger, and compassion. Kanchi's comments on the movie were priceless--she was very angry that Keanu Reeves, as Siddartha, left his wife and baby and entire kingdom in order to find enlightenment. Once he knew there was suffering in the world she felt he should have stayed behind and tried to make things better right there. She was even more annoyed when, as the movie depicts it, he winked out of existence at the moment of enlightenment but she was mollified when he came back into frame and it became clear that he wasn't just going to take the nirvana and run. Jethi chori took to heart Tich Nhat Hanh's adjuration to examine the roots of anger, embrace it, and try to cool it but discovered for herself that she was so angry with everyone else in her class that this could be a full time job. She's angry with them because they all goof off, and when one of them doesn't goof off she is angry because her self appointed role of good girl is challenged. What to do? Also, about this breathing meditation thing? How does that work? They also both reminded me that the first thing I would have to throw out the window if I ever got serious about Buddhist compassion was my intense love of justice, jokes, and tweaking Republicans. Out of the mouths of babes.