Monday, April 15, 2013

Reading Blog Siddhartha: Part 2 - Awakening, Kamala, & Amongst the People

Connect text to film: Karate Kid

During the chapter Kamala, Kamala asks Siddhartha what skills he knows. He answers: "I can think, I can wait, I can fast." (page 46). He mentions afterwards that he can write poetry, but this feels secondary compared to the first statement. These skills, although they are apparently lame, are what made Siddhartha successful. He waited for Kamala to love him and help him; he fasted so that Kamala would give him delicious food, and he thought before he did any of this, making sure his plan would work. These skills were not only useful with Kamala, but also, later on, with the merchant as well. In The Karate Kid (1984) is about a kid who is taught karate by a handyman. Mr. Miyagi, the handyman, teaches karate in a different style, so Daniel believes that the skills he is being taught are not karate related and, thus, useless. Yet, lame, as they might be, they made Daniel the karate champion.

I completely connect this part of the story with the film The Karate Kid (1984). In the movie, Daniel is supposedly being taught karate by Mr. Miyagi, a handyman. Daniel believes that Mr. Miyagi decided to make him redecorate and clean his house and cars. He starts by making Daniel wax his cars, then sand his floor, paint his house AND even paint his fence! He thinks that he’s been been tricked into acting as a temporary manservant for Mr. Miyagi. Just as Kamala believed that Siddhartha's skills were useless, Daniel believes his "karate" skills are useless. Finally, when Daniel confronts Miyagi with the issue he finds out that Mr. Miyagi wasn't redecorating, he was teaching Daniel-san karate (Okinawa style!). Well, he might have killed 2 birds with one stone since his house was improved by Daniel, but, at least, he taught him karate.

Anyways, in both works some apparently useless skills become useful, and both have a happy ending (at least for now in Siddhartha). So, although thinking, waiting, fasting, waxing, sanding, and painting may apparently not be connected to karate or  usefulness, don't underestimate the power of the Buddha. (Or the handyman/sensei from Okinawa).

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