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Satori According to Ghost

Dreamed 1998/4/11 by Wayan

Girl summons dead meditation teacher. Dream sketch by Wayan; click to enlarge.


A girl studying Zen loses her beloved mentor--a woman who radiated calm. Not long after her teacher's death, a corporation names a new product Satori. Was it a snack, a drug, a hair-care gel? Something trivial.

That blasphemous use of the word for Buddhist enlightenment troubles the student deeply.

At last she performs a ceremony to summon one's ancestors and ask their advice. Only... she hopes it's not her blood relatives but her teacher's ghost who'll appear. "She was my true spiritual parent."

And the summoning works. Her mentor's spirit materializes!

So the student asks her old teacher what Satori really means. How to deal with capitalist corruption of the word?

Her ghost-mentor says: "Definitions aren't crucial; satori's an experience, not a word. Mislabeling things can harm people, but you can protect yourself and others by focusing on what you really do, sense and feel... make it clear it's not about holy words. It never was."

NOTES IN THE MORNING


19 YEARS LATER Ad for pot-laced chocolate from a company called Satori.

A week ago I found this old dream in my journal and on impulse decided to draw and post it. As I finished, I idly opened a magazine in the bathroom and saw... this ad.

No big surprise, I guess. They had to pimp enlightenment eventually. And monotheists would sue; have you seen any Muhammad's Seen The Light Ale, Resurrection of Christ Chocolate Easterbunnies, or Antichrist Tequila? (Uh-oh. What's it say about me that I'd try the tequila? Bite the Maguey Worm of Satan!)

But Buddhists aren't quite as quarrelsome. So Satori (the company) can happily degrade Satori (the spiritual state) by selling Satori (drugged candy).

How did Mao put it? "To liberate women is more than just to produce washing machines." But he was a Commie. There's no money in liberation! Lots in products.

Liberation of the human spirit, cannabis snacks... hey, same thing.



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