animal lovers, beauty, Buddhism, Cat Ugly, City of Voronezh, dog, humanity, Jesus, Love, Powder the movie, Russia, Russian movies, Soviet movies, spirituality and enlightenment, White Bim the Black Ear
The story of the stray cat named Ugly, doesn’t let me go. There is so much more to say… Memories and thoughts flood my mind.
WHITE BEAM the BLACK EAR
Commonly (but incorrectly) translated into English as: White Bim the Black Ear, this is the title of a famous, multi-award winning 1977 Russian/Soviet movie (Russian: Beliy Bim, Chernoye Ukho) about a very intelligent dog, whose loving owner was hospitalized, leaving the dog in care of a neighbor. Beam (Bim) has unusually colored black ears, which is considered a blemish and an ugly, inappropriate feature for his normally all-white breed. The ailing, lonely writer and WWII vet, Ivan Ivanovich, rescues Beam from imminent death at the hands of a breeder and takes him in. When Ivan Ivanovich is hospitalized, the dog, not accepting his separation from the man he loves, runs away to search for him. It is a heart wrenching story of a loving, forgiving and intelligent dog, his grueling journey, encounters with various humans, their ignorance and prejudices, as well as some kind and loving people, especially children. Much like the cat Ugly in real life, Beam (Bim) in the movie serves as a powerful litmus test of sorts, bringing to light the good, the bad and the ugly of the human race.
Beam and the man he loves never meet. Hungry and exhausted, left inside a freezing dog catcher truck overnight together with another unfortunate dog, Beam dies the night before his owner’s arrival. The ending is bittersweet: Ivan Ivanovich returning from the hospital, adopts the little doggie whom Beam gave his last warmth during that chilly night; the dog catcher get pangs of consciousness and quits his disgusting job; the man, who once attempted to leave Beam to die in the forest, makes amends and asks forgiveness of his little son whom he deceived into thinking that Beam had run away; and come spring, the young puppy named White Beam the Black Ear, together with his loving owner, joyfully runs around, as both the man and the dog go to visit Beam’s grave where white flowers are in bloom once again.
I never got a chance to see this movie while growing up in Russia. But one evening in Princeton, NJ, when everyone in the house was asleep, I noticed it being shown on one of the Russian US channels. I can’t put in words the profound effect this movie has had on me! Two hours later, having cried half of the time, I went to make some tea. I hadn’t slept all night. The next morning, when everyone woke up, I was a changed person.
In Buddhist texts the effect that I felt would be described as “becoming enlightened.”
You’ll be able to find lots of praise for this masterpiece in so many places – just Google it! The common advice is to find this movie and watch it! But be prepared to cry while doing so.
Monument to White Bim the Black Ear in Voronezh, Russia. The inscription on his collar reads: “His name is Bim, he is waiting for his master’s return, he knows the way to his home. Don’t hurt him, people…”
Watch the whole movie (w. English subs!) on this wonderful blog by Kyle Keeton. By the way, this blog also contains a wealth of information about Russian life, culture and customs.
Remember the movie Powder about the unusual and gifted teenager, who looks powdery white and posses mysterious powers? Because of his strange white face he is constantly bullied and ridiculed by others, but he doesn’t respond, until he sees a deer being killed by the father of the same bully who’d always taunted him at school. Only then Powder springs into action, using his formidable powers to teach the killer a lesson.
As the wounded deer thrashes on the ground, and the hunter teaches his son and his friends how to best kill for sport, Powder places one hand by the deer’s heart and with his other hand, he grabs the man’s hand. All of the dying deer’s agony, all his fear, anguish and pain pulses through Powder’s body and into the body of the hunter. When the hunter tries to free himself from Powder’s grip, he can’t. Powder doesn’t say a word, but he won’t let go even as the man starts thrashing on the ground himself, feeling everything the dying deer is feeling. Powder only lets go after having made the hunter experience the full impact of the dying animal’s agony.
It was a very powerful scene. Had the shock therapy worked? Did it teach this man and his bullying son any lessons? I don’t know. But I hope it did.
UGLY, BEAM, and JESUS
One of the original post‘s comments compared the little kitty, called Ugly, with Jesus. When Jesus was put on the cross after being cruelly mistreated and beaten, just like Ugly, he didn’t lash out, but responded with love and forgiveness. The same applies to White Beam the Black Ear. He never attacked, nor even growled at any humans who treated him so badly. He never lost what we so misguidedly call HUMANITY. I know, certain religions do not consider animals equal to humans, as they are not supposed to possess “a soul.”
Me — I am with the Buddhists on this one. All life is precious and sacred, and no one’s better or worse. And those who think they are better, are in fact worse. Look around and see the manifestations of this everywhere. From animal cruelty and bullies, to wars in the name of “national interests” and “democracy”, to those who think they know more than others, when the opposite is actually true. This is the real message of this story.
“FIRST DO NO HARM”
These are the words from the Hippocratic Oath, created by Hippocrates in Ancient Greece and taken by all modern physicians. A similar concept of first doing no harm exists in the Native American, Siberian Shamanic, European and Chinese Naturopathic traditions.
The children in the USA are taught the Oath of Allegiance in kindergarten and school. Sure, it’s great to express one’s patriotism for a country. But I can’t help but think how much more important it is to first teach people to be responsible and benevolent citizens of our planet.
Just imagine how much better life on Earth would be, if the first words everyone learned in school were: FIRST DO NO HARM!
Buddha, Buddhism, Catskill Mountains, Dalai Lama, Gyalwa Karmapa, Holy Man, Kagyu, Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, Karmapa, Mecca, Meditation, painting, photos, spirituality, tanghas, Tara, Tibet, Tibetan Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhist Art, Tibetan Buddhist Monastery, Tibetan statues, visiting Tibetan Buddhist monastery, WOODSTOCK, Woodstock New York
Woodstock, NY has a distinction of being a Mecca for artists, as well as heaven for holistic and spiritually oriented people. As such, it is home to the Tibetan Buddhist Monastery located on Meads Mountain Rd.
One day I am planning on traveling to Tibet, but until then, why not explore a cool piece of Tibet, located practically in my back yard.
The official name of the monastery is Karma Triyana Dharmachakra (KTD) and it is the North American seat of His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa. Founded in 1976, the monastery features the traditional teachings of the Kagyu lineage of the Tibetan Buddhism, who’d been teaching spirituality and mediatation since the 10th century. The Monastery is located in the heart of the Catskill Mountains, just above Woodstock.
The Monastery has a number of monks and it hosts meditations, discussions about spirituality and higher consciousness, retreats and other events.
Monastery’s outer gate.
The inner gate.
The outside of the monastery.
Fu Dogs protecting the building.
Colorful Tibetan prayer flags are everywhere, surrounding the monastery with benevolent energy.
Tibetan symbols on top of the meditation building: 1. Wheel of life; 2. Stupa; 3. Victory banner; 4. Fruits of abundance; 5. Kalachakra.
Entrance into the mediation hall, painted with traditional Tibetan frescoes.
If you think this is beautiful, you aint seen nothin’ yet! The actual meditation hall is absolutely amazing. A WOW amazing! As someone who collects Asian art, I can totally attest to that! I was sooooo ready with my camera to snap those pics left and right. I was practically drooling! But… the very nice monks politely asked not to take any pictures inside the sacred space. Anyone is welcome to come in and meditate, but no photography is allowed in the meditation hall. So, I went in and sat on one of the pillows. I closed my eyes and meditated for a while. How I wanted to whip out my camera and snatch just a couple of pics of the magnificent Buddha statues towering at 25 feet, of beautiful thangkas and offerings! No one would see me do it, if I was really fast, would they?
But then, I thought of those monks and the trust they put in me, I thought of something intangible that I could distinctly feel in that room. What was it? The presence? Higher conscience?
As a result, my camera stayed in my pocket. I got up and went around the hall, taking in every statue, every piece of art and absorbing the atmosphere. After that, I exited the meditation hall, put my shoes back on and went outside without taking any pictures.
So sorry, no pics of the monastery’s most awesome room. But there are plenty of the rest. Enjoy 🙂
Inside the main building. Notice the floor? This beautiful design is called the mandala. It looks like a flower, specifically a lotus, and symbolizes harmony.
Ah yes, Thangkas… A thangka is a very special art form, particular to Tibet. They are painted by Tibetan Buddhist artists on canvas, using vibrant colors and oftentimes real gold paint. Nedless to say, because of that, they are awfully expensive.
The stroke is exquisitely fine; thangka’s design is usually very intricate, with lots of amazing images arranged in a very structured way around a main image of Buddha, Tara, Avalokiteshvara, or another diety.
The canvas is usually framed with silk brockade and can be hung on the wall, creating a striking senterpiece for any space. However, when not in use, thangka can be rolled up, like a scroll, thus taking up very little space. This to me symbolizes a very Buddhist notion of “traveling light through life.” I collect thangkas and can’t stop admiring the amazing artistry of their creators.
A very interesting fact about thangkas is that despite being truly unique masterpieces, the artists don’t usually sign their names on their creations. It is believed egoic and inapropriate, as all art and creation belongs to God.
Philosophical paintings by Karmapa:
Awakening from slumber.
Inquisitive mind – genuine wisdom.
Dance of illusion.
The thunder dragon.
Union of mind and wisdom.
Pics of the Dining Hall.
The monastery has an extensive shop where one can buy very high quality Tibetan insense (I shop exclusively there), as well as thangkas, Buddhist devotional items, statues, books and other art. It is pretty awesome. Here are some of the images:
The monastery has been conceived as a fully sustainable, green project. Caring for the Earth and all its beings is an integral part of the Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and practice.
Solar panels on the monastery roof.
The monastery is still under construction. They are looking for donations and additional funding.
If you are interested in donating, please visit their website: http://www.kagyu.org/
This is part 2 of my post: A Cool America: Woodstock, NY. Check out part one here!