Monday, May 7, 2007

I'm still a Scarecrow

Wizard: Why, anybody can have a brain. That's a very mediocre commodity. Back where I come from we have universities - seats of great learning - where men go to become great thinkers. And when they come out, they think deep thoughts, and with no more brains than you have. But - they have one thing you haven't got - a diploma! Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Universita Committeeatum E Pluribus Unum, I hereby confer upon you the honorary degree of Th.D.

Scarecrow: Th.D.?
Wizard: Yeah - that - that's Dr. of Thinkology
Scarecrow: How can I ever thank you enough?
Wizard: Well, you can't!

The Scarecrow gets all the way to the Emerald City and gets his Doctorate in Thinkology, but he is still a Scarecrow. His head all full o' stuffin'. I can relate.

I spent many years acquiring degrees of higher education. I appreciate the challenges and the rewards of my endeavors - going farther than I ever thought possible and mastering many areas of study I wasn't sure I could handle. My critical thinking and organizational skills were stretched and strengthened. It will be two years this August since I finished my highly extended formal education, and it's as true now as when I received my diploma - I am still me, only now with formal credentials. My head all full o' stuffin'.

Everyone can read their own life lessons and philosophy into a movie like The Wizard of Oz, so I don't want to claim it was a "Buddhist movie". However, one can imagine a group of pilgrims arriving in the Emerald City and being rebuffed by the Great and Wise Buddha, because that is what they are expecting - given a series of challenges to become worthy. Yet behind the Bigger than Life image is a amiable and practical gentleman. And even then, the pilgrims still think the Buddha will be able to give them their preconceived version of enlightenment - wisdom, compassion, fearlessness. So he hands out a bowl and a robe and a set of beads. He shaves their heads. But he also tells them they "have" everything the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas "have".

If I only had Bodhi...

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