10 February 2012

"Things Change, Kundun"

When my oldest kids were around five or six they watched and got to like the Scorsese film about the early life of the Dalai Lama, Kundun.   The visuals are stunning, the music is captivating, but looking back I think that what might have hooked them most was that it starts out as a story about a two-year old kid.

As the Dalai Lama grows up on screen, there's a scene with him and his teacher.  The two are playing with toy soldiers, and the boy makes an illicit move and grabs too many of the opposing side's.  The teacher returns in kind, and then the boy starts the aerial bombing.  At this point the teacher takes all the Dalai Lama's men.  When the boy starts a pouting spree, the teacher says, "Today you lose. Tomorrow you may win.  Things change, Kundun." 

That line became a commonplace in our household.  Whenever something would happen that one or the other of the kids didn't like, I'd come back with, "Things change, Kundun."  When events took an unexpectedly positive turn, I'd add, "Things change, Kundun."  Who knows what stuck and what didn't?  I'd like to think they're a bit more resilient than they might have otherwise been.

But my point here isn't about childrearing.  It's about things and change.  Things changeThings change.

There is no safe harbor in things, and there is no point in fleeing them for different things, either.  I think one of the most valuable lessons I've ever received in these years meandering the Buddhist path is the simple fact that fretting, adjusting, calculating, scheming, and all the rest are just so many wastes of time.  Right here.  Right now.  That's it, folks.

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