I just got back from attending the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal. Fantasia is an amazing festival devoted, as the name might suggest, to fantastic Asian films. Naturally, Ultraman has been a mainstay of Fantasia since its inception in 1996. In fact, this year marks Ultraman’s tenth anniversary with the festival. I was there with Takeshi Yagi, producer of our new series Ultraman Max. Yagi has been a friend of mine since I started at the company, so it was great to have him there.
From the point of view of my work as a Buddhist dude, attending the festival was a great reminder of an important aspect of real Buddhist teaching. And that is what I like to call the “Fuck You” aspect. Let me try and explain.
Most of the directors and producers whose films are exhibited at Fantasia are outside the mainstream. These guys are not backed by major studios with huge promotion budgets. Many of them made their movies using their own savings to finance them, calling in favors from friends to get them done. These are people with real passion for what they do. They’re the type of people who aren’t put off when everyone — literally everyone — tells them they cannot possibly make a movie. Their attitude is pure “Fuck You.” They’re saying to the world, “You said this couldn’t be done? Well here is is. Fuck you.”
As a student of Buddhism, you also need to have the Fuck You attitude. You can’t be concerned about how stupid you look sitting there staring at your bedroom wall. You can’t worry about whether the rest of the world says the practice is just a waste of time.
And, like those indie film makers, you can’t just talk and dream about Zen. You’ve got to actually do it. An indie film maker doesn’t wait until he’s got a bazillion dollars, an A-list cast and product placements from Nike & Coca Cola before he starts shooting. He just goes out there and gets it done. Far too many would-be Zen practitioners are waiting for some perfect moment to begin practice. Maybe they’re hoping the meet the Zen Master of their dreams, or they’re waiting for a chance to attend some hot shit retreat way off in the mountains, or they’re saving up for plane fare to Nepal. Anything to put off actually getting down to business. The only ones who ever get it, though, are the ones who just say “fuck you” and get on with it.