Sunday, September 23, 2007

What Would Buddha Do? (Written in 2004)

By Rebecca Moore

I gotta say, I’ve never been too overly impressed with folks who like to brag. So let me tell ya, I ain’t braggin when I say I have what they call a high tolerance for pain. I’m just tellin ya the facts. So the other day, I was workin on my second hour of sittin and my legs felt like they were twistin out of the hip joint and my feet weren’t just asleep, they were freakin comatose. I tried to wiggle my toes every now and then, but the message only got ‘bout as far as my knees. But a little pain ain’t gonna stop Jimmy Riggs from gettin his serenity!

I read an article once bout the old flagellants back in the dark ages. You know, the guys that wandered round beatin themselves with whips. And them asthetic fellas in India that wrap their weenies round a stick and twist em every which way. The article said it’s not really the pain them guys’re after. It’s the buzz those nut jobs get from all them endorphins their poor nerves put out in self-defense. So when Buddha started talkin to me I wondered if maybe that’s what was goin on with me.

So like I said, I’m workin on my second hour of sittin and I hear this voice, all Brittish-soundin and proper-like, sorta like John Cleese from that Monty Python show.

“You’ll never find serenity that way you know.”

Boy I jumped. Guess it was more of a start really, since my legs were still dead asleep and twisted into a pretzel. I squinted ‘round my room, twistin as far as I could, tryin to see who was messin with me.

“Hello! I’m over here.”

This time I can tell it’s comin from in front of me, but there’s nobody there right? Then I see my Buddha’s missin from the little altar table and now I’m gettin pissed ‘cause I don’t like to be messed with like that. Cept then I see my Buddha’s not gone, but it’s way over by the edge of the table. So I’m goin to move the little guy back to his spot right? And that’s when things get really weird. It moved. It moved and said “Pardon me.” For a second I still ain’t figured out what’s goin on, so I go to pick it up again. And that’s when it does this prancy little side-step.

“Really, do you mind?”

“Holy Shit! What the hell?” I bout killed myself tryin to jump back cause my legs were still in a pretzel and I couldn’t get em undone. I’m tellin you I scooted back on my hands and butt so fast I had rug burns on my palms.

“Now come James, is profanity necessary? I must say I imagined our first conversation would be much more positive. Say, are you alright old chap? Is something wrong with your legs?”

“They ain’t workin. I’d be long gone if they were.” Heck, I can’t feel my feet at all. I ain’t goin anywhere anytime soon. And I‘m over bein scared anyways. Now I’m just flabbergasted.

“Ah, well, that’s why I’m here. I’ve watched you for some time now. I have to say you’ve got on the wrong track quite badly. I’m not sure where you aquired this notion that pain is a good thing. I imagine from one of these books over here.” He’s headin over to the small bookshelf beside my altar now, windin past the incense pot and the flower vase; runnin his hand through the water as he passed by the water bowl. “And really, what is all this clutter on my altar? Oh yes, and by the way, I loathe sandalwood. If you must burn that rubbish could you please use something else?” He’s lookin at the bookshelf now, pacin back and forth.

“Sorry, I didn’t know. The books all say…”

Now he’s danglin his legs over the edge of the table, lookin down like he’s tryin to figure out if he could make the jump.

“As I suspected, the books. They’ve got it all wrong you know. I should have written it all down I suppose, but I’m such a procrastinator. I might have known they’d muck it all up. Can’t do much about that now, can I?”

“Well what’d they get wrong?”

“That whole bit about the sitting for one thing. I never taught people to sit until their legs can’t work properly. How can you possibly focus on your mind when your legs hurt so. Now tell me honestly, that last half-hour you’ve been sitting there in agony, did you learn anything? Did you have any great insights into your inner being?”

“Well… no. I guess not.”

“Right! Of course not! I’d say all you’ve learned is how long you can torture yourself and how long it takes for the feeling to return to your toes. And then there’s all this stuff,” he says, lookin around him. “I don’t know where all this rubbish comes from. It’s all very distracting, and I’ve never liked incense. The smoke makes me sneeze.”

“So what am I supposed to be doin?” And I’m gettin all excited now ya know. Thinkin I’m about to get the real deal right? But get this, he takes off. He looks at me and says, “I believe I’ll be going now,” and he jumps. He jumps over to the bookshelf and starts climbin down. And I can’t stop him either ‘cause my feet’re just now gettin to the pins-and-needle stage. So I’m like “Wait! What am I supposed to be doin? If I’ve got it all wrong, then what’s the right way?”

And he stops. He looks back at me and I’m thinkin here it comes, here comes the good stuff.

“There is no right way,” he says and walks out.

I never did see him again. Never did get me another Buddha either.

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