View Full Version : Buddha's Penguins

04-25-2007, 08:54 AM

I recently watched 'March of the Penguins' on TV and couldn't help but notice that those wonderful creatures are truly practicing the Way. They must overcome seemingly unsurmountable difficulties: extreme cold, hunger, sleep deprivation, traversing vast distances, attacks from predators, protecting their offspring, etc. How do they do it? I'm convinced that they do it by living in the present moment. They do what needs to be done, here and now, irrespective of what hardships they may have endured in the past and how incredibly small their chance of success in the future may be. They don't entertain thoughts about these things and they don't have a distracting ego which can become distraught or conceited. Like true Bodhisattvas, they expect no reward. If they fail, they just fail and if they succeed, they just succeed. And then they just carry on, moment by moment. I think we can learn a lot from them.


05-24-2007, 03:41 AM
I agree animals seem to have a lot to teach us about living in the present moment. I've noticed this in my own dog, lol.

I've often wondered how long my cat has been practicing Zazen.

11-18-2009, 08:15 PM
i made a post once some years back on another board about pets and sitting and it wasnt taken very well.. i will say again, when i sit, my dog sits right by my side and just looks at the wall, like if he should be looking for something but he doesnt really know what.. at first he used to bark at the wall.. now that we have cats they sometimes use my like a climbing post, around the middle or so of my session..

11-18-2009, 10:18 PM
Last week I saw Werner Herzog's 'Encounters at the End of the Word', his film about visiting the landscape and bases in the Antarctic. There are several weird scenes, but one in particular: to the left is the penguins' breeding colony, to the right is the sea and food. They are all going about their penguin business trudging purposefully between these two points when one stops midway. The others carry on past in either direction. After a long, long pause the penguin turns through 90° and heads into the distance, towards the mountains of the icy interior.
The scene cuts to one shot earlier when Werner was on the edge of the mountains, another little penguin goes waddling through the camp, it has travelled many kilometres away from the sea and the nesting site to get here, everyone stops moving as they are forbidden from interfering in any way with the wildlife. The penguin toddles on through the camp and off into the mountains 'and certain death' as Herzog intones.
Do penguins go insane? do they get suicidal? do they just get confused? no one seems to understand this well documented behaviour...


11-20-2009, 05:10 PM
Animals can be truly amazing and it's important to reflect on this.
The penguins are a good example of nature's tenacity; clinging to existence in the most difficult circumstances.

On the other hand, I'm not sure I would want to aspire to be more like these creatures!
"Ignorance is Bliss" goes the old saw and I would think it applies to these miserable birds.
Watching their expressionless faces as their sole egg rolls off the father bird's feet and dies on the ice is horrific.

I think a careful balance is required here.
As these animals "live in the present moment" and go about their business we can learn from their plodding gait and ego-less momentum.
On the other hand, they don't stop to admire the beauty of a sunrise over the arctic mountains either, do they?

Once again, a good example of how it is impossible forgo the relative for the absolute...
Just a thought.


11-21-2009, 03:22 AM
If it wasn't for Morgan Freeman's voice and the clever (if somewhat Disneyfied and anthropomorphizing) script, March of the Penguins might be one of the most despairing films of all time. That bleak, bitter landscape, that long migration, all the loss and hardship and suffering. All the darkness, and cold wind. I would not want to be reborn a penguin. I might just give up and walk off toward my doom too... but then of course a penguin likely experiences his/her life very differently from how I see it from the point of view of my judgments of what is pleasant and unpleasant.

11-21-2009, 02:18 PM
i dunno, i mean penguins always fascinated me, so i watch anything and everything about them..

11-25-2009, 12:01 AM
penguins always fascinated me
:mrgreen: Sorry, I just never though I'll "hear" this in my litlle life...

Voce e increivel!



11-25-2009, 02:16 PM
penguins always fascinated me
:mrgreen: Sorry, I just never though I'll "hear" this in my litlle life...

Voce e increivel!



thanks, "obrigado".. my kids watch "happy feet" ad nauseum.. i prefer to watch it in english, but for them its in portuguese..