I don’t know if I’ve ever blogged about this or not, but one of the many geeky things I like is anime. I’ve never dressed up in a costume and gone to a convention or anything but there are a lot of really great anime shows out there and they really do deserve to have a wider audience. Last week, I finally caught up on an anime series that I should have watched a long time ago but never seemed to get to. It’s called Afro Samurai and stars Samuel L. Jackson as one of the baddest dudes ever to hold a sword. The show is full of violence and language and graphic images but if that sort of thing doesn’t bother you, I highly recommend it. Besides the great story line and beautiful artistic direction in the show and its follow up movie, there is a great example of what Buddhism often calls the “monkey mind”. In a nutshell, this is the mind that jumps around from one topic to another and constantly chatters and makes a racket and distracts us. The other day I used an analogy for this kind of mind where I compared it to a puppy who runs around chasing everything.
One of the characters from the show is named Ninja Ninja. He is the travelling companion of Afro Samurai and is also voiced by Samuel Jackson. Ninja is the personification of the monkey mind. The way that he moves and constantly chatters, attempting to distract Afro from his cause (usually that means killing someone) is one of the best examples I’ve ever seen of demonstrating the activity of the monkey mind. Afro’s ability to allow Ninja to do whatever he is going to do is also a great example of how best to deal with the monkey mind. He rarely engages it and usually only tells it to be quiet or to go away. He doesn’t worry about it or try to argue or rationalize it away. He remains focused on his journey and what he needs to do. I found it to be quite inspiring when I thought about it. Below is a short clip of the interaction between Afro and Ninja that takes place in the movie that was made in response to the popularity of the original 5 episode series. I am including this particular clip because it shows very well the point that I am trying to make and doesn’t include material that could be considered R rated (as a lot of this series is)
If you do want to watch this show, it is available on Netflix and over at Hulu for free.