Cameron, my wife, is a wise and ardent follower of the Buddha’s 8-fold path. She gave a talk and a guided meditation last Sunday at the Springboard Meditation Sangha and the subject was metta. Metta is a Pali word, usually translated as “loving kindness,” but like many Pali words, the English version doesn’t really do it justice. As Cameron explained, it’s really about having an open heart to whatever arises in the present moment.
What does this have to do with comics or cartooning? I have in my Chimera Spoor notebook song lyrics I copied. The singer was Krazy Kat, a cartoon character created by George Herriman, one of the greatest cartoonists who ever lived. Despite the fact that the central theme of the strip was Krazy being beaned by a brick thrown by a sour-tempered mouse named Ignatz, an action Krazy interpreted as an act of love, there was a gentle silliness to the comic strip that at times reached the heights of sublime poetry. Krazy was as open hearted a character as ever imagined. Of fluid gender, Krazy was sometimes described as a “he” other times as a “she.” Although a joyful creature, Krazy knew the difficulty of life too, described in Pali with the word dukkha. Dukkha is most often translated as “suffering,” but the word in Pali encompasses a whole spectrum from the slightest hint of discomfort to the deepest gut-wrenching blues.
Krazy had a dialect all her/his own. Krazy’s version of the word “matter” came out as “metta,” and that’s my tenuous link in this posting. Unfortunately, I neglected to note the date of the comic strip so I can only provide the words:
Something’s the metta with me, I know not why or widda I ain’t sick, and I ain’t well Wot it is I cannot tell Yet go I tidda, or come I hidda Something’s the metta with me
I can’t compete with Herriman’s artistry, but I will close with a picture of Mojo Cat, a minor character in my new comic, in this case in his avatar as the MahaMojo Boddhisattva.
May all beings be free from harm and happy and content.