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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Page Three

@Buddhaman57 Last night I went to a talk on Buddhism and money, given by the writer Eddie Canfor Dumas.

Eddie is a follower of Nichirin Buddhism and believes in the efficacy of chanting (Nam Myoho Renge Kyo). He told the story of a young actor who was introduced to the practice of chanting and told it would get him anything he wanted. He decided that what he wanted more than anything else in the world was to sleep with a glamour model (Page Three girl), and he went into his trailer to chant.

Within two weeks, he had indeed met and started a relationship with a glamour model. But the relationship was imbued with trouble and ended in tears.

Further chanting led him to the realisation that the desire to sleep with a glamour model was superficial and unworthy, and he could move on to a more meaningful way of relating with women. Perhaps he needed to have a bad experience before he could learn this, before he could let go of this particular desire. Some people apparently need to experience bad things for themselves, if they are not to live their lives weighed down with bitterness and regret.

It doesn't matter how the chanting works. Maybe it just focuses the mind on what it desires, and then the mind does the rest of the work. But in this case, the chanting seems to have helped Eddie's friend realise two things in one, two kinds of desire: his short-term demand and his longer-term development.

As Bernard Shaw wrote in Man and Superman: "There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart's desire. The other is to get it."


  1. Short-term vs long-term:

    Pete: "You'd want them to want you for your mind, though, wouldn't you?"

    Dud: "Yeah, I spose so... but I'd want them to give me body a good goin' over first..."

    (Pete & Dud on Sex - not verbatim...)

  2. This seems very similar to the practice of Christian Meditation, which uses a mantra and "chants" silently. It is always reassuring when the different world's religions agree. It makes me feel that we are looking at a universal truth.