Bukowski's funeral

mjp

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Maybe I'm a prick, but that picture - or any other picture of those dudes at his funeral - always irritates me.

I'm bothered that those fundamentalists or zealots or whatever you want to call them, presided over Bukowski's burial. I understand why they did, but it was wrong, and I'll never understand why that was done. I think it was a selfish move on someone's part, to cap off an iconoclast's life with a trio of fucking chanting monks. What's wrong with this picture?

Okay, sorry. Carry on. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
 

hoochmonkey9

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the only thing I can say about that picture is the old cliche: funerals are for the living, not the dead.

those zealots only showed up because somebody called them.

lesbian strippers probably won't show up at my funeral because my wife 'conveniently' lost the number.
 

Gerard K H Love

Appreciate your friends
Three monks together praying is trumped by the giant flower banner that reads HANK in the background. They were watered down like being doused with a fire hose. Bukowski has a bit more spirit than them.
 
I wouldn't really call Buddhist monks (who, incidentally, appear to be Theravadan) zealots or fundamentalists, though I can understand someone's anger at a religion presiding over someone's funeral who wasn't a believer -
If there was a representative from any of the three monotheistic religions within ten miles of my funeral I'd spontaneously combust.

Buddhism is not a fundamentalist religion like the 'big three' monotheistic religions, which are dogmatic, unprogressive and small minded (and I could think of a whole bunch of even less generous terms).

Buddhism doesn't think it's the only path; it doesn't try to convert; it doesn't punish those who don't accept its ways; It's just a way of a seeing the world. It merely offers a method/practice that you are not obliged to adopt.

In fact, if I wanted to describe Buddhism in a nutshell I might say it's "Sifting Through the Madness for the Word, the Line, the Way..."

and it wasn't the 1st time that someone has described enlightenment as The Flash of Lightning Behind The Mountain
I often see lines in Buk that remind me of Zen haiku

The HANK wreath is great.
 

mjp

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I wouldn't really call Buddhist monks [...] zealots or fundamentalists...
Well then, with all due respect, you'd be wrong. Any monk is a fundamentalist by definition. And if dedicating your entire life to a supernatural belief system isn't zealotry, then I'm confused - I thought we were speaking English? Whether Buddhism is benign or destructive in comparison to other supernatural belief systems is not the point. It is what it is.

Bukowski was not a Buddhist, so making a Buddhist hubub around his grave was incongruous, to put it mildly. Funerals may be for the living, but the living are hypocrites. I've been to enough funerals in my life to realize that.

Bukowski was enough things all by himself. He doesn't need our beliefs projected onto him.
 
Well, if the story "The Great Zen Wedding" from Erections, Ejaculations etc. is any indication, Buk certainly had a certain respect for the Zen masters ... "certain" being NONE. He even ends up getting arrested and being thrown in the drunk tank! Great story, but no evidence of any belief in or even respect for Buddhism.
 
According to the Sounes version, Linda got Buk interested in meditation during his final illness, but I didn't get the impression that he went much for the Zen philosophy behind it.
 

mjp

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...Linda got Buk interested in meditation during his final illness...
Well, people become interested in a lot of things when death is on the doorstep. I suppose your own quickly impending demise changes your perspective, doesn't it.

But I think back to Bob Marley's funeral. It was a state funeral in Jamaica, so politicians spoke and tried to use the occasion to grandstand as politicians will. But members of the Twelve Tribes of Israel Rasta sect bum rushed the podium and took over the proceedings, after which the Wailers and the Melody Makers (Marley's kids) played Bob's music.

I remember seeing the pictures and thinking, "How can they be singing and dancing and smiling and leaping around at a time like this?" But later it occurred to me that that was the only fitting tribute, and it was in keeping with Marley's general philosophy. (Well, a funeral itself isn't really in keeping with Rasta philosophy, but if a funeral was necessary, and a big public funeral was necessary in Bob's case, then that was the funeral to have.)

In Bukowski's case, and for many people - in America, anyway - the funeral is out of sync with the person being memorialized, and that's a shame. But there is an accepted format and few people want to deviate from that. So it goes. I suppose it doesn't matter to the guest of honor, so it shouldn't matter to me.
 
Well then, with all due respect, you'd be wrong. Any monk is a fundamentalist by definition.
Not strictly true. The definition I have of fundamentalism here is: "The interpretation of every word in the sacred texts as literal truth"

Buddhism doesn't operate out of blind faith like Christianity. Buddhists, lay and monk, test Buddha's theories to see if they actually hold true. If they find that they hold true they accept them. It's even in the original teachings, to paraphrase; the Buddha said "don't take my or anyone's word for it; try it yourself and see if it works, and if you find a better way that's cool. Keep asking questions."

Even the Dalai lama said that the texts should be changed if science proves them unlikely (can you imagine any of the mono-theists saying that? "we're changing the new testament because we found out virgin births are not possible"). As I said, it's a progressive belief system, which tends to weaken the argument that Buddhism has a sustainable core of fundamentalism.

Also, there is no real 'literalism' in Buddhism. Take reincarnation: some Buddhists believe in it, but also many don't, and that's ok. No one gets burnt at the stake for it. There are lots of interpretations.

Of course, there are always individuals with fundamentalist attitudes; it's part of their personalities, but that's true of all people in all walks of life.

And if dedicating your entire life to a supernatural belief system isn't zealotry, then I'm confused
The core of Buddhism doesn't belief in supernature either (there are no gods like there are in the mono-theistic religions, for example.), though some traditions do allow for supernature, such as the Tibetans, though, if we want to get into it, one could argue that Tibetan Buddhism isn't 'pure' Buddhism because it's syncretic with the local shamanistic mystical traditions.

Besides, who cares who was at Buk's funeral?
There's no need to...
...deify him ;)

and i just thought of another Buddhist phrase
" don't try"

but then yoda said that too!
 

Lolita Twist

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Well, if the story "The Great Zen Wedding" from Erections, Ejaculations etc. is any indication, Buk certainly had a certain respect for the Zen masters ... "certain" being NONE. He even ends up getting arrested and being thrown in the drunk tank! Great story, but no evidence of any belief in or even respect for Buddhism.
I was just about to mention that! I was gonna say, "I wonder if those are the people from...". Are they, I wonder. And why was he at the "Great Zen Wedding", if he even was? I struggle over whether that was fic or non.
 
I'm kinda a buddhist wanna be & I agree entirely with Rittler. Buk probably had little or no belief in Buddhism but Linda certainly did & I'm fine with it if it made her happier-what matters is Buk's life not his funeral.
 
Let us not quibble, brothers and sisters...

after all, we're all Bukkhists...

Be thankful he didn't have a Tibetan Sky Funeral, wherein the body is dismembered and left out on the mountain side for the vultures...
Actually, that sounds too much like life to me...

For those with strong stomachs details (and images) can be viewed here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibetan_sky_burial

It's for da boids!
 

mjp

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The core of Buddhism doesn't belief in supernature either...
Reincarnation is a supernatural belief. So is Karma. Etc., etc.

I didn't find fault with the funeral in order to start an argument about religion. Buddhism, Christianity, Islam - they are just different bullets for the same gun. Refuge from unanswerable questions. Comfort in the face of chaos. If you need that, god bless you.
 

cirerita

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Be thankful he didn't have a Tibetan Sky Funeral, wherein the body is dismembered and left out on the mountain side for the vultures...
What, do you dislike vultures? Is it any better to be eaten by worms? Worm-infested bodies are not a nice sight. And I bet vultures finish their job faster than worms.
 

d gray

tried to do his best but could not
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i can't help to think he would have preferred the vultures to three guys who had no idea who he was chanting for him.
antisheep! we need your guidance here. why have you forsaken us?
 
As I said, belief in concepts, such as reincarnation, are not compulsory. Some believe, some don't. It's a choice. It's in the nature of Buddhism to question and investigate if a hypothesis is true (and reject them if they're not).

I have Buddhist leanings and I'm an atheist and I don't believe in reincarnation, at least not the reincarnation that you might be thinking of (ie, your so-called soul/essence being reborn in another body). To me that's nonsense. I, like many, feel that this is a throwback to the pre-Buddhist thought/culture and is now redundant (unlike the monotheistic traditions which hold dear to historical superstitions, even if they're clearly impossible.)
The good thing about Buddhism is that you can relinquish historical superstitions that clearly no longer hold true. Hence progressive.

"Anything that contradicts experience and logic should be abandoned" - the Dalai Lama

"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." - Buddha

I don't see the above statements permitting supernatural beliefs if they can be disproven with science and/or reason.

Further to this, you might be interested to know that the Dalai Lama position that was traditionally and successively filled by a 'reincarnation' of him in a child is probably about to come to an end. He has said that he may choose a successor before he dies. This is partly for political reasons, but it clearly undermines an unwavering belief in reincarnation.

But if we want to get into it reincarnation isn't necessarily 'supernatural' from some people's perspective. Many believe that the scientific fact that matter in the universe cannot be destroyed is enough justification for reincarnation as a working concept. When a kid is born, this is not new matter coming into being, it's just redistributed matter. That's the laws of physics.

Somewhere, out there, Buk's liver is taking on the universe....

Hank's funeral should have been in a bar. And it's only right that a barfly should be eaten by barmaggots. Only the worms should have held sway.
 
Buddhism is more a philosophy than a religion, it tries to help people live better not to enforce a belief in an afterlife or force them to follow certain rules. It doesn't even try to convert, the Dalia Llama suggests people stay in their own religion and just use the concepts of Buddhism. It's also one of the few religions where it's followers don't belive the teachings tell them to kill the unbelievers.
 
the only thing that comes to mind that Bukowski and buddhism have in common is the search for inner peace. One of the biggest differences between the two however is how they searched for it...

you won't find these baldies in a bar if ya know what I mean
 

mjp

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But if we want to get into it reincarnation isn't necessarily 'supernatural'...When a kid is born, this is not new matter coming into being, it's just redistributed matter. That's the laws of physics.
Well that's not much of a leap. From molecules to "souls." That's what the kids call magical thinking.

But like I said, whatever gets you through the night.

Wait - maybe I didn't say that. Someone did.

By the way, "souls" are also a supernatural belief. Unless scientists have published research finding that the existence of souls can be demonstrated or proven in a laboratory setting, and I just didn't hear about it. That's possible, I don't read everything.

If Buddhism teaches you to seek the truth, I would think that a successful Buddhist would happily accept that they engage in supernatural and magical beliefs. Because that is the truth. You seem to be fighting the truth rlittler, which, I have to warn you, is making Buddha angry.

...Buddhism [is] also one of the few religions where it's followers don't belive the teachings tell them to kill the unbelievers.
Whether Buddhism is benign or destructive in comparison to other supernatural belief systems does not validate it or prove it is not magical thinking.
 
Buddhists don't believe in souls.

Physics is magical thinking? oh, right. And Richard Fenyman is a grand wizard. And Newton did a spell to make the apple fall from the tree.

Buddha can't be angry, he died a long time ago. He was just a guy. I'm not fighting the truth. No one has worked out what the truth is yet so there's no point me expending too much effort trying to work out what it is, much less struggling with it. Besides, I'm too busy doing other stuff like staring out of the window, eating my breakfast, trying to remember where I left my keys, waiting to get paid. That's about all the truth I need right now.
 

mjp

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Physics is magical thinking?
No, L. Ron Dullard, but associating reincarnation with matter is. Okay, strictly speaking it's ignorance, not magical thinking, but you get the drift.

Feel free to replace "soul" with any comparable Buddhist-approved voodoo such as "rebirth, "re-becoming," "cycle of consciousness" in my previous statements. It doesn't change them.

You're off into fairy-land, brother. Accept the fact and continue on your happy, unbroken path to eternity. Why you getting so wound up about it? It's like being mad at gravity.
 
To me, truth is an individual thing. There are as many truths on this planet as there are people. That is why one only truth can't be found. What counts for us all though are facts.

I've been working on a Shaolin Monks of China tour and I had those 15 small Skinhead dudes around me all day. Their fighting was really impressive and their disciplined collective shittings and then hitting the stage was a sign of... don't ask me what. After all, the story sold about them not earning any money but doing the whole tour to give all the money to the temple was just made up to fool the audience and make them buy tickets. Every single one of them was well paid and when they returned back home, a lot of them would become bodyguards. And on that way, finally get out of the temple.

It's so typical for someone who didn't grow up in a Buddhist culture to dream a fairytale about what it must be like. And to get all wound up when the alarm clock rings. Come on, you don't have to get lost in any religious labyrinth.

The Buddhists I met were hard drilled fighters... who left a mess on the table.

There's always a very young monk on the tours to support the appeal.
This one I met was about ten years old and the older monks stuck a broom handle between his butt cheeks and wiped the backstage floor with him.
You can pretty much stuff all illusions of peace-loving Buddhist monks after seeing this.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
the only thing that comes to mind that Bukowski and buddhism have in common is the search for inner peace.
So Bukowski was on a search for inner peace? How odd that he never said anything about it. ;)
 
No, L. Ron Dullard, but associating reincarnation with matter is. Okay, strictly speaking it's ignorance, not magical thinking, but you get the drift.

Feel free to replace "soul" with any comparable Buddhist-approved voodoo such as "rebirth, "re-becoming," "cycle of consciousness" in my previous statements. It doesn't change them.

You're off into fairy-land, brother. Accept the fact and continue on your happy, unbroken path to eternity. Why you getting so wound up about it? It's like being mad at gravity.
But you can be a buddhist and not believe in reincarnation, some do-you probably won't meet any Christians who don't believe in an afterlife. Again Buddhists are more interested in how to live this life that's why it's a philosophy. And by the way Buddha is not considered a God.
 

number6horse

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I guess we can't know for sure how enthusiastic Buk might have been about the presence of monks at his services. Even if it were just something he "allowed" Linda to do, is that really a bad thing ? They were a married couple and these decisions had to be made jointly. I could see him wanting as much stability and security as possible for Linda at a time like that.

But I understand mjp's viewpoint that a religious* service for him appeared to be incongruous with the life he led and the worldview he expressed in his art. However, conflicts like these can appear even within the confines of the deceased's chosen religion. About 20 years ago, a friend of mine became born-again and when he passed away, the pastor turned his funeral into a commercial. The good reverend saw an opportunity to promote all the good works their church did to his "unsaved" friends. His Dad wanted to kick the pastor's ass afterwards and we had to talk him out of it. So yes, sometimes distortions appear at times like these.

But - in my opinion - the writings of Bukowski stand as his hello and goodbye to the world. And - again in my opinion - the basic tenets of Buddhism (hold the re-incarnation please, with extra mustard, thank you) are not in conflict with them. Basically, he never flinched in the face of evil/fear etc., and neither does basic Buddhism. So, when looked at that way, it's not that much of a mis-match.

*Buddhism is considered a religion in the U.S. by virtue of its tax-exempt status.
 
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