Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Monstaville Book I. Chapter 40


“‘A cat killer? Is that the face of a cat killer? A cat chaser maybe. But hey - who isn’t?’”
(A canine defence lawyer to a jury in a courtroom of cats, from a cartoon by Gary Larson: The Far Side).

Bugs Bunny: Old soul. Uses brain not brawn. He performs miracles, like he has the power if needed to do the impossible and the will to change the cartoon if so desired and turn it to his advantage. His charm makes him adored by people. He uses deception a lot. He uses vanishing oil, reducing oil (stolen from the sorcerer and used against him) and ether (pacifying).

Daffy Duck: Trying to prove himself, prove he’s the best. Wants Bugs Bunny’s popularity. Wants to steal the show. ‘D-rool, d-rool.’

Yosemede Sam: Hates wabbits! The mean, angry bully is quick to take offence and quick to lose his temper and shoot people. Infuriated by cheeky Bugs, always trying to kill him but is always outwitted (or, again, Bugs works his magic and cartoon-land works miracles according to his wishes).

Elmer Fudd: The keen hunter who behaves like a spoilt brat, a baby, used to getting his own way. Thinks it normal that he is free to enjoy shooting wabbits. He’s a vegetarian who just goes hunting for sport.

“Of course you realise this means war!” - Bugs Bunny (Warner Brothers).

“If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

“It is holy to bear the unbearable” - Tripitaka (to Monkey) from the Seventies TV series.

Sandy: You know how he is, the Master, he says, because it’s a sort of monster. Well, they don’t all have to get killed, do they?
Monkey: The only way I know of fighting monsters is to bash them.
Sandy: Monkey, look at it this way: we’re supposed to be Buddhists. Buddhists don’t kill. That’s the main thing. That’s what Tripitaka objects to...I do admit that it’s not easy, but you have to use cunning. Think of some plan, use tactics, oh please...have you?
Monkey: Knock his head off!
Sandy: Well, if you must.

Pigsy (Zhu Ba Jie) represents the part of us with lust and sensual appetites that will do anything for good food and wine and plenty of it. The pig demon also wants to seduce all pretty girls he encounters. He is greedy and lusts for fame and fortune, and prestige. Good at enjoying life (but lazy). Wood element (or earth in the West). Perhaps, by exploring his own potential for power, Pigsy might develop integrity and a sense of purpose.

‘The amorous pig’ is lustful and represents our sensual nature and appetites. He is always hungry and argues that the fact he does not sleep all the time means he is always controlling himself. As a punishment, his libido - the passions of Pigsy - is increased but his looks are those of a pig; that is, he is ugly and smells! So, through his frustration, he is forced to learn to control his senses.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" - Terry Pratchett.

Pigsy is cursed: he thinks he is the most attractive being and expects the ladies to fall for his handsome looks and charms, but they all find him to be a smelly, ugly pig and even the vampire - Queen of the Night - finds his taste too repulsive to suck his blood. ‘Absolutely revolting’ is her verdict. Pigsy, with the muck rake (or ‘mud rake’) he uses as a weapon, represents the earthy, sensual side of ourselves, attachments, especially to food and sex (and wine). He is greed. He depends on material substances too much and he is too attached to the body. Pigsy “wonders what use Buddha nature can have, since it can’t be eaten, drunk, snorted over or kissed”! (Monkey, Episode 2, ‘The Difference Between Night and Day’). He abducts women and he’s a greedy, horrible swine!

“And remember, 'mud' spelled backwards is 'dum.'” - Bugs Bunny (Warner Brothers).

Monkey (Sun Wu Kong) is the part of us that gets angry, feels important and reacts too quickly and easily to negativity. He is arrogant and bad-tempered. Our pride and conceit, and our power, which requires wisdom, mercy and self-control. Monkey also represents the rebellious and mischievous part of ourselves, the will to action, as well as courage, honour and wit. He is the conscious ego/will. ‘Great Sage Equal of Heaven’ (a title not recognised in Heaven itself except as a fake, meaningless one to placate him!). Good concentration and a strong will (er, but prone to kill). Fire element (and/or metal/air, one could argue: the masculine principle).

“Human potential is the same for all. Your feeling, ‘I am of no value,’ is wrong. Absolutely wrong. You are deceiving yourself. We all have the power of thought - so what are you lacking? If you have willpower, then you can change anything. It is usually said that you are your own master.” - The Dalai Lama.

The Monkey King is an expert in magic and martial arts and knows how to transform himself into anything he wishes. Our will as king of the mind/thoughts and, hence, which is potentially ‘equal to Heaven.’ The mind is indestructible. Will is trapped by desire, that is, Monkey is trapped beneath a mountain of heavy karma (rocks) that ‘fell’ on him (this was imposed upon him by Buddha) before he could be free again to know his whole self and its natural power and peace.

Sandy (Sha Wu Jing) is the part of us which is like a fish out of water. The river demon wants to escape, relax and be at peace. The sensitive part of us: when hurting, it’s the end of the world. He is needy. He needs water on his skullcap in order to live. He needs inner peace, flowing energy - like chi needing to be circulated, through emotional wholeness (indeed, I read that Monkey represents the shen, spirit, Pigsy the jing, sexual essence, and Sandy the chi, while Tripitaka represents the body). He is thirsty and complains a lot. He is polite, sincere and caring, a good mediator. Good at meditation. Water element.

The water monster who had previously broken the Heavenly Queen’s priceless vase at a party and cut off the flow and circulation of nature, perfected consciousness. Emotional, psychic and psychological excess. Twisted, depraved. Breaking the rules, amoral, unusual, outcast. Like a vampire. His excess is that of preying on humans and eating them because he is unable to live in their world. So, he hides in the dark places, in the shadows of the underworld. Perhaps Sandy’s greatest crime was smashing the vase of his own consciousness into thousands of pieces or, rather, the associated emotions, of not coping with the ensuing chaos, or not being able to forgive himself for being so lost or confused as a result…always moaning yet, in his despair, seeking inner peace and wholeness yet never seeming to get anywhere. Just how I feel.

"I mean, if you were to find a shattered mirror, find all the pieces, all the shards and all the tiny chips, and have whatever skill and patience it took to put all that broken glass back together so that it was complete once again, the restored mirror would still be spiderwebbed with cracks, it would still be a useless glued version of its former self, which could show only fragmented reflections of anyone looking into it. Some things are beyond repair. And that was me." - Elizabeth Wurtzel (Prozac Nation. Young and Depressed in America: A Memoir, Riverhead Books, New York, U.S., 1995).

Tripitaka (Tang San Zang, or Xuan Zang) is the frail human body and sensitive soul, I guess. He is kind, innocent and trusting (and perhaps fearful). He is vulnerable in the world of men and demons but he is pure and aware and bears the truth. It is he whom Buddha and Kuan Yin watch over and help. There is also a white horse, Yu long, who is the White Dragon Prince (the fourth disciple) and could be equated with the soul, perhaps. Buddha has sent Tripitaka back to Earth because he did not pay close enough attention to his teachings but now he is dedicated to the scriptures and is gifted at memorising them. Probably the earth element from a Chinese perspective [Retrospective note: perhaps earth and water, the feminine principle. Perhaps air, i.e. I don’t know! But I wrote about this in more depth somewhere in my journals, I’m sure].

Tripitaka is a mortal, a human personality, a monk, a product of upbringing, background. The other three monsters (or four, including the horse) represent parts of the individual. They accompany him; that is, they are within him and each have a strong character which needs to be tames and pacified (by the childlike innocence of the monk). So, Tripitaka represents the person, the personality, its role in the world, its mission - the overall identity with its inner feelings and its outer role/appearance/persona. Identity and purpose, as simple as light, as the Sun, needing to transcend and overcome the various beasts in the unconscious and transform them into pure Being, which is the higher potential and essential reality of all. The demons whom the monk and his disciples encounter want to eat Tripitaka’s flesh because it can make them immortal. We human beings are vulnerable and many vile spirits seek our energy which is why we need to develop power in the form of will and imagination as well as mastery of our appetites, enjoying the fruits of the body more than the gratification of the flesh. The monk is celibate and his pure energy and light is especially attractive to spirits seeking a feast! Since he is such a prominent target, he must defend himself not just with prayer but by using other resources available to him as well. Thus, he is tested by these confrontations and develops his power and understanding on a higher level as a result.

Monkey and Pigsy both believe that fighting is a good, honourable pastime, something to enjoy. They both like the idea of the journey because it presents the opportunity for battles and fighting to protect Tripitaka faithfully, just for the thrill of fighting. But, the monk has to keep trying to teach them that fighting is an example of bad behaviour and is unacceptable on a special, spiritual journey.

Retrospective inserts.

AHumility is attentive patience.@ ‑ Simone Weil.

Journey to the West is ascribed to the sixteenth-century writer Wu Cheng’en, based on the popular legend of a Buddhist Monk named Tang Xuanzang (also known as San Zang and Tripitaka) whom the Tang Emperor sent to India in around 600 A.D. to fetch Buddhist Scriptures. I read the condensed version translated by Arthur Waley.

I named the monster upstairs ‘Pigsy’ because, in the Journey to the West, Monkey first encounters him after he has kidnapped a village elder’s daughter and demands to marry her so he can have his wicked way with her night and day. I think he terrorised the entire village and hogged all the food, responding to protests that if it were not for him they would not be able to produce such quantities of food (it’s several years since I read the novel now!). Pigsy’s animal nature had taken over and he seizes an opportunity to redeem himself on the pilgrimage: to serve the spiritual focus of the monk Tripitaka. These man-eating demons teach us that when we follow our base instinct we behave like monsters. Yet, those self-same parts of ourselves can also be elevated to a higher, and more fulfilling plane. For, on a higher vibration, all consciousness is the Self.

“My, I'll bet you monsters lead innnnteresting lives.” - Bugs Bunny (Warner Brothers).

Besides, he is an idiot! I also liked the idea of setting myself in a superior position, with a constant sense of superior power through the imagery of constant conflict between Monkey and Pigsy. Monkey has passed just about every magical initiation and he is so powerful that it takes Buddha himself to sort him out (and a gold band around his head to cause him pain whenever Tripitaka disapproves of his behaviour). He is developing a greater sense of humility, and patience and compassion. Monkey is often found teasing and playing tricks on Pigsy whilst the latter frequently gets both himself and the others into trouble. He is also jealous of Monkey and tries to take the glory for himself as though, if only Monkey were not present, he could ‘be someone.’ And rule and then impose his gluttonous nature on everyone all over again.

“To care, to be fair, to be humble.
When a man cares he is unafraid.
When he is fair he leaves enough for others.
When he is humble he can grow.”
- Laozi.

When Love Comes from the Heart 

“All beings are free to give and receive love from the heart, for the energy from the heart cannot be tainted with thoughts, ideas, power, control and struggle, it is simple, it is just love. So can you do that with someone in the street, in that gap moment, can you just take your own breath and send that ray of light into their heart? Loving makes bills go away. Loving makes debt go away. Loving clears karma. Loving gives you the best job, the best companion, the best friends. And loving cleans 'want.' Loving cleans 'want.' Remember that. And when you want for nothing you will be submersed in love. And you will have everything. People will just give it to you. And will just show up in your reality, no effort. Love is the ultimate magnet for anything that is sweet, and it=s vehicle is humility. You must be a humble being to express love through your heart. Gentility, connection, kindness.” St. Germain (channelled through Ashamarae McNamara, Humility is one of the greatest gifts, according to St. Germain, for it has no enemies).

“Bear all and do nothing;
Hear all and say nothing;
Give all and take nothing;
Serve all and be nothing.”
- Sai Baba.

“Learn to give, not to take. Learn to serve, not to rule.”
- Sai Baba.

“There are three things which are real: God, human folly and laughter. The first two are beyond our comprehension. So we must do what we can with the third.” - John F. Kennedy.

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