Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Re: Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jun 27, 2009 10:42 pm

Greetings,

Firstly, I want to apologise to anyone who was offended by my earlier posting of the photo of Michael Jackson dangling his son of the balcony and my flippant response to it. It was neither the time and place to remind fans of such things, nor a skillful means by which to make the point which I wanted to make. It probably comes from the fact that on Friday someone I work with had to leave work because his girlfriend was literally in a state of shock at hearing about Michael Jackson's death. This attachment and clinging of hers is now causing her suffering, over an event which needn't be the cause of suffering. Attachment is the cause of suffering and it is prevalence of attachment and craving that is the real tragedy - not that the natural process of death happened to overtake one individual. As the Buddha taught in the Salla Sutta, "If any benefit is gained by lamenting, the wise would do it. Only a fool would harm himself. Yet through weeping and sorrowing the mind does not become calm, but still more suffering is produced, the body is harmed and one becomes lean and pale, one merely hurts oneself". My colleague's girlfriend is a case-in-point, and I feel for her suffering.

Hence, I decided to think about how better to express my thoughts on this matter and to present them in a way that can hopefully help to extend the range of our lovingkindess and compassion beyond its current scope, and to see death in its proper perspective and have a more equanimous response.

Respect to those who use the Dhamma to cure suffering
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=1668

Anyhow, I hope that was a more skillful attempt to make this point which I feel is very important and is overshadowed when there is such a disproportional and emotional response to the death of one person.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

Postby Ben » Sun Jun 28, 2009 12:51 am

Hi Retro
No need to apologise.
For many of us, Michael Jackson's death inspires an understandable mix of emotions which are uncomfortable for some.

BTW, this is a very good article that contextualises the 'phenomenon' of Michael Jackson, especially to those like me, who had a hard time taking him seriously:
http://www.theage.com.au/lifestyle/stra ... -d0ke.html

Interestingly, I learned that news of the event spiked an upsurge of internet traffic at google which recorded 67,500,000 hits for 'michael jackson' and temporarily shut down its servers.
Metta

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

Postby Perry » Sun Jun 28, 2009 2:10 am

I consider myself a semi-fan if you will. I don't actually have any of his records but have listened quite regularly to him on Spotify since it came out and borrowed my dads CDs occasionally. Nonetheless Michael Jackson is someone I have had an interest in for a while, I have always felt a lot of sympathy for him and vehemently supported him during the trials.

He was clearly a mentally unstable person, but on the other hand he was obviously quite remarkably talented. Sadly a lot of wicked people realised this and so used Michael's naivete and immaturity for the own ends, the amount of hangers-on of this kind multiplied in the last few years of his life and I have no doubt that these people are solely, albeit indirectly, responsible for his death.

As a child he was beaten and bullied severely as a child by his father in order to rake in millions of dollars when the Jacksons became stars. He suffered with quite severe acne in his teenage years which led to much mockery in the press and even some insults thrown his way from members of the public.

He became nothing more than a trophy to Sony Records in the end, who were leaving him enough money to temporarily settle his debts, but ultimately were only using his financial woes in order to eventually receive the publishing rights to the Lennon-McCartney catalogue.

I have no doubt in my mind that he did not do what he was accused of. He never had a childhood and I honestly feel this left him as a ten-year old boy in a mans body. But not just any mans body, but a man with a world of pressure and expectation on his shoulders. How many ten-year old children can you think of that could take all the bullying and mockery he has received in his life?

By the end, he didn't even have a say in his own life. The Nation of Islam had tightened their grip on him and even though a lung disease had ravaged his voice, he was forced to do a party for a Russian billionaire on a private yacht, and then after being convinced to do ten-dates at The O2 Arena in London, he later found out he had been tricked into doing fifty. I think it was obvious he couldn't do it.

Whether a fan or not, it's not totally fair in my opinion to call his death "just another death". This is the unspectacular end to a prodigious child bullied and beaten and taken advantage of by leeches who used him for their own ends. He deserves the compassion he never got in life.
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Re: Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

Postby christopher::: » Mon Jun 29, 2009 3:14 pm

His life story was tragic, at least for those of us watching from a distance. Totally caught in the grip of samsara, like millions of others on this planet. Who wouldn't trade all that fame and wealth for a loving family, a few close friends you can trust, and a father that never beat you?

I think Michael Jackson tried the best he could given the life he had, his circumstances in this world. His "legacy" of music and dancing brought joy to people's hearts. I think he was motivated by metta and mudita, with much that he did. Not all though, like most of us. In the end his demons ate away and reduced him to a skeleton of a man. Very sad, tragic. I hold no negative feelings for him. I hope that over time those who are deeply sad will be comforted, and let go of their attachments to his memory. Likewise, those who feel some aversion to Michael Jackson will hopefully realize that this is just a trick of mind as well.

Image

At the end of the day I think our brother Michael had a much more positive impact on the world then negative. The largest negative has been the image he and we held of him.

Fortunately, that image was and is an illusion.

May all beings be happy. May all beings find peace from suffering.

R.I.P. Michael

:heart:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jun 29, 2009 9:50 pm

I wonder if MJ did not have the twisting demons of self loathing coming from of abuse from his father to contend with, if would been as driven to succeed? How much of what we found enjoyable came from a place of deep pain?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

Postby christopher::: » Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:10 pm

tiltbillings wrote:I wonder if MJ did not have the twisting demons of self loathing coming from of abuse from his father to contend with, if would been as driven to succeed? How much of what we found enjoyable came from a place of deep pain?


This too, was probably true.

Lisa Marie Presley: He Knew
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Jul 01, 2009 10:15 am

Greetings,

:clap:

eBay Auction - Piece of paper with "Michael Jackson" written on it

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll ... 0442918342 (link fixed)

Anyone who was devastated beyond reason by the tragic death of legend and superstar Michael Jackson will want to own a piece of A4 paper on which I have written the words "Michael Jackson" with a pen. This would be an ideal gift for anyone who loved the King of Pop - known for his hit songs "Billie Jean", "Thriller", "Bad" and his trademark "moonwalk" dance moves - and is also fond of paper. You were totally crushed mentally by this terrible death and so was I, in general. I am prepared also to personalise this memorial item by adding the name of the winning bidder, maybe in a different colour (to be negotiated). A modest but fitting tribute to a modern icon of the world of pop. This item is unique. I will not write the words "Michael Jackson" on another sheet of A4 like this for the rest of the year - GUARANTEED. I can post immediately. No returns.


Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

Postby Jechbi » Wed Jul 01, 2009 3:58 pm

Isn't that the general principle behind paper currency?
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

Postby christopher::: » Fri Jul 03, 2009 3:05 pm

I like the way Michael's Thriller dance meme has been morphing...
Expect to see more of these....

"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

Postby Annapurna » Sat Jul 04, 2009 10:58 am

Ben wrote:Hi Retro
those like me, who had a hard time taking him seriously
Ben


No offense meant by asking, Ben, but don't you take anybody seriously?

I'm really thinking hard about this now....

Why should I not take anybody seriously?

What are the conditions for taking somebody seriously?

Metta, I think, includes all, and....don't I serve anybody with my knowledge, my generosity, my whole existence , my thoughts that are directed at others with loving kindness, like a good mother would love ALL her children equally, and not just the most impressing of those?

Likewise, if we realize that 'Michael Jackson' was our child before in a previous life, how can we not .... :heart: ? Anybody...? :anjali:

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Re: Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

Postby Annapurna » Sat Jul 04, 2009 11:40 am

pmwhewitt wrote:I consider myself a semi-fan if you will. I don't actually have any of his records but have listened quite regularly to him on Spotify since it came out and borrowed my dads CDs occasionally. Nonetheless Michael Jackson is someone I have had an interest in for a while, I have always felt a lot of sympathy for him and vehemently supported him during the trials.

He was clearly a mentally unstable person, but on the other hand he was obviously quite remarkably talented. Sadly a lot of wicked people realised this and so used Michael's naivete and immaturity for the own ends, the amount of hangers-on of this kind multiplied in the last few years of his life and I have no doubt that these people are solely, albeit indirectly, responsible for his death.

As a child he was beaten and bullied severely as a child by his father in order to rake in millions of dollars when the Jacksons became stars. He suffered with quite severe acne in his teenage years which led to much mockery in the press and even some insults thrown his way from members of the public.

He became nothing more than a trophy to Sony Records in the end, who were leaving him enough money to temporarily settle his debts, but ultimately were only using his financial woes in order to eventually receive the publishing rights to the Lennon-McCartney catalogue.

I have no doubt in my mind that he did not do what he was accused of. He never had a childhood and I honestly feel this left him as a ten-year old boy in a mans body. But not just any mans body, but a man with a world of pressure and expectation on his shoulders. How many ten-year old children can you think of that could take all the bullying and mockery he has received in his life?

By the end, he didn't even have a say in his own life. The Nation of Islam had tightened their grip on him and even though a lung disease had ravaged his voice, he was forced to do a party for a Russian billionaire on a private yacht, and then after being convinced to do ten-dates at The O2 Arena in London, he later found out he had been tricked into doing fifty. I think it was obvious he couldn't do it.

Whether a fan or not, it's not totally fair in my opinion to call his death "just another death". This is the unspectacular end to a prodigious child bullied and beaten and taken advantage of by leeches who used him for their own ends. He deserves the compassion he never got in life.


Wonderful post, full of compassion and trying to really understand a person, like a parent would, non-judgemental, just accepting, and loving.

Let's take a look at this please? :smile:
He was clearly a mentally unstable person


I ...don't know.

Ok. He was an artist. Singer, dancer, poet. Right? He was of light built, not a massive masculine appearance like Muhammad Ali,right?

So here lies one important root why mostly fellow men didn't take him quite as seriously .

He was occupied with what are largely considered "feminine" arts: Dance, song, poetry.

Ok, men do it too,but the superbowl or rugby guys are something else, you see?

Now, he also possessed a rather delicate facial beauty and gracious slender limbs with great coordination.

From the body, an experienced doctor can draw conclusions about the psyche and mind,and overall health.

He was, imo,a pure Vata type in the Old Indian healing art Ayurveda.

A Vata type is slender, light bones, gracious, often highly talented in arts or rhythmic sports like dance.

When in harmony,they are lively, happy, inspired and inspiring, creative, charismatic.

When stressed,they lose appetite, weight and sleep suffer from body pains, and become frail and weak, shadows of their former energy.

We know Michael Jackson from both sides.

He took painkillers and sleepingpills, to be able to perform on stage the next day, week, months...

This is incredibly hard for a sensitive Vata artist.

Therefore, with your approval, I hope, I would say he was sensitive, and stressed, even ill, but not mentally unstable.

taken advantage of by leeches who used him for their own ends. He deserves the compassion he never got in life.
:clap:

I'll be back later to ask you a few things, ok?
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Re: Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jul 04, 2009 11:41 am

Greetings Annabel,

I'm really thinking hard about this now....

Why should I not take anybody seriously?


I hope you didn't take Michael Jackson's "crotch framing" seriously?

Let's be honest, that was pretty disturbing.

Image

No offense meant by asking, Ben, but don't you take anybody seriously?

I'm really thinking hard about this now....

Why should I not take anybody seriously?

What are the conditions for taking somebody seriously?

Metta, I think, includes all, and....don't I serve anybody with my knowledge, my generosity, my whole existence , my thoughts that are directed at others with loving kindness, like a good mother would love ALL her children equally, and not just the most impressing of those?

Likewise, if we realize that 'Michael Jackson' was our child before in a previous life, how can we not .... ? Anybody...?


I still think you're conflating respect, compassion and lovingkindness, as if they're one and the same thing. In the Dhamma, there is no Self, so exactly what do you respect?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

Postby Ben » Sat Jul 04, 2009 12:02 pm

Thanks Retro
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
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Re: Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

Postby christopher::: » Sat Jul 04, 2009 12:26 pm



Michael Jackson is gone. I hope folks will focus more on the positive work he left behind then the negative. He didn't start any wars or cut down rainforests. At times he seemed confused of his identity, seemed to be wrestling with his desires, which may have seemed like inner demons.

How many of us haven't walked that road at some time?

R.I.P.
:heart:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

Postby appicchato » Sat Jul 04, 2009 1:01 pm

He was clearly a mentally unstable person


And so (to varying degrees, and given the 'right' circumstance(s)) are we all...(excluding the enlightened)...
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Re: Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

Postby Annapurna » Sat Jul 04, 2009 1:30 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Annabel,

I'm really thinking hard about this now....

Why should I not take anybody seriously?


I hope you didn't take Michael Jackson's "crotch framing" seriously?

Let's be honest, that was pretty disturbing.

Image

No offense meant by asking, Ben, but don't you take everybody seriously?

I'm really thinking hard about this now....

Why should I not take everybody seriously?

What are the conditions for taking somebody seriously?

Metta, I think, includes all, and....don't I serve anybody with my knowledge, my generosity, my whole existence , my thoughts that are directed at others with loving kindness, like a good mother would love ALL her children equally, and not just the most impressing of those?

Likewise, if we realize that 'Michael Jackson' was our child before in a previous life, how can we not .... ? Anybody...?


I still think you're conflating respect, compassion and lovingkindness, as if they're one and the same thing. In the Dhamma, there is no Self, so exactly what do you respect?

Metta,
Retro. :)



I hope you didn't take Michael Jackson's "crotch framing" seriously?

Let's be honest, that was pretty disturbing.


No, it wasn't! Do you conflate the role with the actor?

He did that on stage, it was part of the roles he played, portraying black street culture, that he didn't even belong to anymore! But was SELLING to those folks!

You cater to your customer!

Dear Retro, you seem to be a "nice white chap". Right?

Could it be the wilder Afro American culture seems "misbehaving" to you? "Grunts"...etc...

And dont forget, the anglosaxon nations, like America, are far more prudish than Europeans, btw.... I am European.

What could make an American blush could amuse a European, - unless you are from a conservative family.
Last edited by Annapurna on Sat Jul 04, 2009 4:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

Postby Annapurna » Sat Jul 04, 2009 1:43 pm

I still think you're conflating respect, compassion and lovingkindness, as if they're one and the same thing. In the Dhamma, there is no Self, so exactly what do you respect?


You respect the sentient being, don't you?

By not respecting it, you make it suffer.

You have compassion with the sentient being.


By not having compassion you make it suffer.

You treat the sentient being with loving kindness.


By not treating it with loving kindness, you make it suffer.

HOW can one be present without the others, when they are all fingers of one hand, the hand of Dhamma? You want a whole hand, to help you up from the floor, not just a half-hearted little finger, don't you?

They all depend on each other. Ideally, they all come together, with all faculties intervowen, in an enlightened being.

All separation begins in the mind.

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Re: Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

Postby Journey » Sat Jul 04, 2009 2:24 pm

Those that jump on this opportunity to follow the urge to find fault and spread dislike, seem (to me) to be as smitten with MJ as are his fans.
MJ was impermanent, his bad behavior - impermanent. He may not have been perfect, but dukkha arises from our own negative reactions, not from MJ. If you read the news that MJ is dead and the reaction is the urge to spread dislike about the things he did that you do not approve of, it means negativity is still deeply rooted.
Thank MJ for bringing this to light because as the Dhammapada teaches:

Easily seen are the faults of others,
Hard indeed to see are one's own
—Dhammapada 252-3
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Re: Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

Postby thecap » Sat Jul 04, 2009 2:34 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Let's be honest, that was pretty disturbing.


I invite you to absolute self-honesty and self-forgiveness (or in Buddhist lingo "letting go"), for there is still aversion.

In the Dhamma, there is no Self, so exactly what do you respect?


Not-self is not equal to No-self.

As Buddhists, we respect all living beings.

With metta
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Re: Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Jul 04, 2009 2:54 pm

Annabel wrote:He was occupied with what are largely considered "feminine" arts: Dance, song, poetry.


Fashion too:

Image
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