Shantideva and Anna Nicole

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It is somewhat ironic that right now in our studies of Shantideva’s The Boddhisattva’s Way of Life that we are at the part where Shantideva lays it on the line that our bodies are merely a collection of skin, blood, meaty bits, bone, pus & excrement.  And ultimately, these bodies that we so treasure will end up as fish or worm food (these days it is rare for our bodies to be chunked out as vulture food, at least not here in the States).  So why, he asks, are we so attached? It seems like an extreme view.  It just doesn’t resonate in a culture where the perfect body is revered, particularly for women. 

The current Anna Nicole circus demonstrates the opposite extreme from Shantideva’s view.  During her life Anna Nicole was defined by her body.  First, her hot, sexy body defined her roles  as a stripper, a Playmate,  and a model (and an argument could be made that it was her body that landed her role as wife to an octogenarian billionaire). Later, her bigger body defined her as the star of the Anna Nicole Show on E!  Women sympathized with her while men shook their heads and muttered “what a shame.”  Then again, it was her body, her newly thin “Trimspa, baby” body that flung her back into the spotlight. And now, in death, her body is subject of a daytime dramedy where battling loved ones fight it out in the courtroom for possession of her dead body. 

If our bodies, even when we are living, are nothing but meat and disgusting excretions, then what is a dead body but a rapidly decomposing collection of parts mixed with embalming fluids.  These people are not attached to Anna’s body so much as they are attached to their reputation as wanting to be seen as doing the noble thing – wanting to fulfil Anna’s final wishes. 

I don’t feel sad for Anna Nicole.  She is gone.  The time to argue over her was when she was alive and desperately in need of help.  “I want to take her to rehab!” “No, I want to take her to a different rehab center!”  That might have been a worthwhile argument that might have done some good.

As for the upcoming fight for her daughter?  Frankly, I think they should just take Dannilynn as well as Britney’s tots and put them all up for adoption – a closed adoption – and let people who simply want a child to love, and are unsullied by the potential financial windfall, raise them as normal kids.  Maybe then they’ll have a chance.

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