follow da buddha

(taken from a calypso song heard on the front porch of a shack in Puerto Limón, Costa Rica in 1977)

I will keep it short. Follow da Buddha was the title and the sole lyric to the song “Follow da Buddha” which I heard sung in endless repetition to a calypso rhythm by a toothless old guy on the steps of a shack on the Pacific side of Costa Rica in 1977. We were traveling with a beat-up guitar, sitting there trading songs, watching the tide roll in with Chiquita bananas floating in the waves.

Whether you know it or not, whether you believe it or not, whether you accept it or not, we all follow the Buddha throughout our lives. Change comes to everyone. Siddhartha was a young man raised in a noble caste. He became a businessman. He womanized. He became a penniless beggar. He reached nirvana. He changed, you change, I change, we all change. We all scream for ice cream.

It is possible that some don’t change much. For example, certain conservative female senators — with those plasticized, sprayed semi-bouffant flip Mary Tyler-Moore hairstyles dating from the same period that their political beliefs were formed and their husbands’ suit styles were haute couture — at least they want to give the appearance of stability, of an absolutist (surely a non-relativist) world view.

But deep, down inside, if caught in a moment of candor, even they will have to admit they see things differently from the viewpoint of their youth. Change comes to everyone. We all follow da Buddha.