Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Jeff Bridges, the Coen Brothers and Buddhism



Online, at a site called the hairpin, you can read a discussion between Jeff Bridges and his Zen master Bernie Glassman. They talk about all the Zen koans in the Coen brothers, "The Big Lebowski." Bridges, made a second movie with the Coen brothers, "True Grit."
Unlike the Kim Darby character in the John Wayne version, the adult Maddie you see at the end of the Coen brothers film is unmarried, missing an appendage and shows up to see Rooster Cogburn a week after his death.
The adult Maddie is suitably stoic and, like so many Coen brothers movies, leaves you with mixed emotions. It was a great movie, much better than its predecessor, but bleak and sad.
Over the years, since I first read "The Razor's Edge," I've been interested in Buddhism and attended some Buddhist gatherings, including a Tibetan Buddhist meeting in Santa Monica.
If you understand that Buddhist thought comes out of sixth century BC Indian society, which was filled with suffering, you can understand how Nirvana, a state in which you no longer have to be reborn into a world of pain, is very appealing.
The Jesuits are known for saying, "give him to us for the first seven years, and we will have him forever."
As someone who attended Methodist Church every Sunday since I was in preschool, you might understand how Nirvana has less appeal then "life everlasting." As my disability brings more pain, my Christianity seems more important.
I've met some wonderful Buddhists and know when the Buddhist protest somewhere in Asia, I should probably be on their side. I've given up caring how people reach a higher power and learn to behave ethically. I've chosen Christianity, but I probably never had any other choice. Jesus is a stalker.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for bringing the subject of Buddhism so vibrantly alive, Rich. We are fortunate to be living in its American hotbed in Southern California and so close to the incredible Lake Shrine here in Santa Monica. It should be a must-see for visitors.

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  2. Thanks for your comments. They are much appreciated

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  3. And thanks, Rich, for your affirmation of the Christian worldview regarding life everlasting. We can, and should, be respectful of and in dialog with the understandings of the great religions of the world, while being humble in our own responses, and at the same time passionate in affirming the great testimony of the Gospel regarding resurrection life—here and now—as well as in the world to come.

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  4. Thanks for that summation. It always bothers me when people dismiss philosophy or religions they haven't bothered to examine. If your beliefs are valid you'll return to them no matter how many side streets or byways you walk down.When I hear "I'll Fly Away," it grips me in ways I don't always fathom.

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