My brunch with Buddha (and Moses, Jesus and Mohammed)
So I had this crazy dream where I was in this diner, sharing a booth with Mohammed, Jesus, Moses and Buddha. Our waitress was none other than Parvati (Lord Shiva’s female incarnation), snapping her gum and scribbling away in her notepad; a few tables away, Kali hacked her customers to shreds with a jagged sword of red flame, her necklace of skulls clattering like hooves.

I concluded we were in the right section.

Buddha stated that I could ask each of them one question. So I asked Jesus if it was true that he admonished his followers to turn the other cheek. “Yes,” he replied between bites of a Western omelet. “But I dare not remind them; look what happened the last time people didn’t agree with my words!” And Jesus winked.

I asked Mohammed if he truly hid the moon within his sleeve. “Yes,” he answered between sips of orange juice. “For I simply held up my arm and the moon did disappear; thus do men seemingly superimpose their will over nature. But only Allah is all.”

I asked Moses if he truly heard and saw the flaming bush. “Yes,” he replied while buttering his wheat toast. “For I saw beyond this physical world and beheld that which exists deep within the minds of all—the infinite and indefinable.”

And last I asked Buddha if he truly wrestled with illusion and won. “Yes,” he said and sipped his jasmine tea. “For, like all my friends here, I beheld the infinite and knew this world’s reality to be but a mere molecule in the crown of existence.”

Considering their words, I closed my eyes; when I re-opened them, my guests were gone! Nearby, Parvati tapped her foot insistently. Kali turned and said, “Need a hand over there?” Parvati only smiled. “No. He’ll do the right thing.”

So I dug out my wallet.

I’ve often enjoyed the ironic definitions created by that “bitter” late 19th century columnist and short story author Ambrose Bierce. The definitions appeared on-and-off in newspaper columns in San Francisco and London, eventually collected and published under the title The Devil’s Dictionary. In small doses, the entries are hilarious. Lengthier delving tends to grate the souls of even the most resilient of creatures. Caution is advised. So, as a tribute to that abrasive-yet-lovable-only-from-a-distance curmudgeon I offer one of my own modest “devil-nitions".

Faith, n., (1. Initially, Trust’s nourishing and reciprocating banquet table, offering measured yet satisfying helpings of one’s environment, one’s fellow creatures, and one’s self; now, paranoia’s fast-food drive-up window. (2. The closet atheist’s sitting room; conversely, the sitting room atheist’s closet. (3. A blind clutch at the ungraspable by hands devoutly welded together; a kneeling leap. (4. Satan’s most attractive mask.

Just some good ol’ ironic fun, folks. Rev. Gus Wagster should be back next week. Toodles.