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Lions Roar : May 2016
This Issue’s Dharma-Burger The practice of Zen leads us, in part, to the realization of nonduality. Strange, then, that the “Zen One” condom features a “unique dual texture for maximum pleasure.” It also boasts a fit that’s larger than most—perhaps to help trigger experiences of, um, emptiness in some wearers? BODHI CHATTER Dharma, pop culture, and good-natured gossip. What’s in President Barack Obama’s pockets? Nothing so mun- dane as keys or Tic-Tacs. “Ever since I started running for office, people started handing me things,” he explains in a White House YouTube video. All of these items are collected in a big bowl, and some of them he carries around in his pockets “to remind me of all the people I’ve met along the way and the stories they’ve told me.” There’s a rosary given to him by Pope Francis, for example. And there’s a teeny-tiny, itsy-bitsy little Buddha—a gift from a monk that secretly (until now) inspired the president. • • • In the British newspaper The Guardian, Oliver Burkeman revealed “How I learned to stop worrying and love The Donald.” Among those whose advice he sought were two American Buddhist teach- ers—Sharon Salzberg and Susan Piver—who taught him about loving-kindness and sitting with discomfort, respectively. “I won’t pretend I’ve managed [a] switch in perspectives anywhere near completely yet,” Burkeman writes. “But I can feel the panicky despair beginning to subside.” • • • Cody Saintgnue may not be a household name just yet, but he does have the singular honor of being the subject of one of the more pointedly unusual headlines of the year to date: “Say Hello to Teen Wolf ’s First Bisexual, Buddhist Werewolf.” That’s the setup for a video introducing the actor to web readers of the American LGBT- interest magazine, The Advocate. Based on the 1985 film of the same name, Teen Wolf is MTV’s attempt to be what Buffy the Vampire Slayer was in the late ’90’s and ’00’s: hip, young faux-horror. And yes, Saintgnue’s character, Brett Talbot, really is Buddhist. And bisexual. And a werewolf. “It’s opening people’s minds to what’s out there,” the actor says. • • • The Dalai Lama is famous for laughing a lot—but not at American-style jokes, which he seems to find merely baffling. You may recall a couple of years back when a TV reporter tried this one-liner on His Holiness: “The Dalai Lama walks into a pizza shop and says, ‘Can you make me one with everything?’” (Cue sound of crickets chirping.) Well, bombing happens to the best of them—even comic’s comic Garry Shandling (himself a Buddhist), who told Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee’s Jerry Seinfeld about his own experience telling a gag to the Dalai Lama. The joke: “The Buddha never got married because his wife would have said, ‘What are you gonna do, sit around the house like that all day?’ ‘Well, I’m meditating, honey.’ ‘Why don’t you meditate while you’re taking out the trash?’” Shandling reports that Dalai Lama simply responded, “Oh... funny,” adding, “That’s what you want—a three-minute gap from when you tell the joke to when you get the laugh.” ♦ LION’S ROAR | MAY 2016 18 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE