Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Wisdom Quarterly (SEX AND SENSELESS VIOLENCE IN SAMSARA)
"Sucker Punch" (2011, Warner Bros. Pictures) a story by Director Zack Snyder
"Sucker Punch," with a theme song by Bjork and Skunk Anansie, is an epic action allegory that invites viewers into the vivid imagination of Babydoll (Emily Browning), a young girl whose dream-world provides the model for our ultimate escape from a dark reality.
Like us, she is lobotomized (which makes mindfulness difficult) and trapped in a brothel/insane asylum -- a metaphor for our illusory and endlessly cyclical existence in samsara, where we are trapped prior to liberating enlightenment.
But Babydoll learns from a Zen master, played by a misplaced Occidental sensei in medieval Japan (Scott Glenn). He instructs her, directing her to find five things:
- a map (a path, instructions)
- a fire (zest, passion, energy)
- a knife (for cutting, detaching)
- a key (a means of unlocking oneself)
- and the fifth is a mystery, something for one to discover.
Dance, Babydoll, dance - Blue (Oscar Isaac) and Dr. Gorski (Carla Gugino) demand it! (LOL)
|Fighting Nazis, titans, drones, dragons...|
If Babydoll completes this journey, it will set her free (moksha, liberation). Otherwise, as the sensei points out, "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything." She will simply spin and spin, dancing and cycling, through life after death after life after death.
Unrestrained by the ordinary boundaries of time and place, in accordance with the "Mind Only" (Chittamatra) School of Buddhism, she is able to enter vivid internal states of consciousness.
|Samsara (Stephen Shephard)|
There she is free to go where she wills or where the universe takes her. Babydoll's incredible adventures blur the lines between what's real and what is imaginary -- with potentially tragic consequences.
She could die, and with her friends like Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish) and (Jamie Chung) who depend on her as a daring example of leadership. But as Rocket (Jena Malone), a fellow inmate at the asylum, points out: "WE'RE ALREADY DEAD."
"Set Fire to the Rain" (Adele). Also starring Vanessa Hudgens (Blondie) and Jon Hamm
Acharya Buddharakkhita, Appamadavagga (Dhp II), edited by Wisdom Quarterly
|Garudas guarding treasures of the Dharma in the temple, Thailand (Zennn/flickr.com)|
VERSE 21. Heedfulness is the path to the deathless. Heedlessness is the path to death. The heedful do not die. The heedless are as if dead already.
- The Deathless (amata) is nirvana, so called because those who attain it are freed from the cycle of birth and death. [The passing of a person is only called "death" when it is sure to be followed by rebirth and more suffering is some high, middling, or lower plane. But the passing of a noble person is called parinirvana, blissful "final liberation" following enlightenment].
22. Clearly understanding this excellence of heedfulness, the wise exult therein and enjoy the resort of the noble ones.
- The "noble" ones (ariya) are those who have reached any of the four stages of supramundane attainment leading irreversibly to nirvana -- stream entry, once returning, non-returning, and arhatship.
23. The wise ones, ever meditative and steadfastly persevering, alone experience nirvana, the incomparable freedom from bondage.
24. Ever grows the glory of one who is energetic, mindful, and pure in conduct, wise and self-controlled, harmless and heedful.
25. By effort and heedfulness, discipline and self-mastery, let the wise make an island which no flood can overwhelm.
26. The foolish and ignorant indulge in heedlessness, but a wise person regards heedfulness as one's highest treasure.
27. Do not give in to heedlessness. Do not become intoxicated by sensual craving. Only the heedful and meditative attain great happiness [joy even here and now].
28. Just as one upon the summit of a mountain beholds the groundlings, even so when the wise person casts away heedlessness by heedfulness and ascends the high tower of wisdom, this sorrowless sage beholds the sorrowing and foolish multitude lost below.
29. Heedful among the heedless, wide-awake among the sleep walking, the wise person advances like a swift horse leaving behind a weak mare.
30. By heedfulness did Indra become the overlord of the devas ("shining ones," angelic light beings). Heedfulness is ever praised, and heedlessness ever pitied.
31. The spiritual wanderer who delights in heedfulness and looks with dread upon heedlessness advances like fire, burning all fetters, small and large.
32. The spiritual wanderer who delights in heedfulness and looks with dread upon heedlessness will not fall. That person is close to nirvana.