Commentary on Poem "Waiting for the Great Pumpkin":|
Year after year around Halloween time,
Linus is in his Pumpkin Patch waiting
to welcome The Great Pumpkin's coming.
Peanuts: Linus Welcomes Great Pumpkin
Pumpkin Patch in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
Halloween also known as All Hallows' Eve is celebrated yearly
on October 31 in several countries. Some festive Halloween activities include children going out trick-or-treating
for candies, attending costume parties, decorating, carving pumpkins into jack-o'-lanterns,
lighting bonfires, visiting haunted house attractions, and watching horror films. The
Halloween business is growing
with $5.8 billion spent in the U.S. (2009),
and $7.8 billion sales in 2014.
The average person will spend more than $77 on Halloween goods.
The Great Pumpkin is a fictional holiday figure in the comic strip
Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz,
first mentioned by Linus van Pelt in 1959. Every year, Linus sits in a pumpkin patch
on Halloween night waiting for the Great Pumpkin to appear,
but it never showed up. I enjoyed reading about Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin
3) around 1968
when I began my spiritual search for enlightenment at Cornell.
Photo Sources: Linus welcomes Great Pumpkin
Linus Waiting (wikipedia.org);
Dallas-Fort Worth Pumpkin Patch (dfwchild.com)
Sometimes, Charlie Brown, Lucy, and Snoopy|
are with him, but most of the time, he is alone.
Some say Charles Schulz is talking religion
Charlie Brown is the central protagonist of
Charles Schulz's comic strip Peanuts.
Charlie Brown's best friend, Linus van Pelt often got him to wait in a pumpkin patch to see "The Great Pumpkin" which Charlie Brown
doesn't believe to exist. Lucy van Pelt is Linus's 8-year old sister who's
a bully to other kids. Snoopy is Charlie Brown's pet dog, a beagle with human traits.
According to Danny Gallagher, the original "Great Pumpkin" story was actually about religion
Schulz's "Great Pumpkin" story got its start in his comic strip before finding a permanent place in popular culture on television.
In David Michaelis' book Schulz and Peanuts:
A Biography (2008), Schulz received a rare complaint letter from a reader asserting that
the Great Pumpkin was "sacrilegious". He wrote a response agreeing with her assessment. He felt that the concept of believing
in Santa Claus was just as ridiculous and sacrilegious as the Great Pumpkin and that he was "trying to show this in the Great Pumpkin strips."
Image Sources: 10-29-2014 Peanuts
Charles Schulz (wisdomportal.com)
transforming Halloween into Christmas
the way kids wait for gifts from Santa Claus
bringing toys to good children in the world.
It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
is a 1966 American prime time animated television special aired on CBS (10-27-1966) based on the comic strip Peanuts
by Charles M. Schulz. It followed the TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas
that made its debut on CBS (12-9-1965). It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown was so successful winning 50% of the TV audience
that it aired every Halloween from 1966 to 2000 on CBS and on ABC from 2001 to present. Linus's unshakable belief in the Great Pumpkin,
and his desire to foster the same belief in others, has been interpreted as a parody of Christian evangelism by some observers.
In his 4-23-2004 essay,
Michael Koresky admires Linus staying in his Pumpkin Patch rather than partake in kids
going trick-or-treating for candies on Halloween. Linus's "single-minded philosophical questing,
separates him from the crowd." In the climatic scene of 1965
A Charlie Brown Christmas (Video), Linus is
on the school auditorium stage, with a single spotlight shone on him. Linus reminds his schoolmates about
the true origins and meaning of Christmas, quoting from
Luke 2:11: "For unto you this day is born a savior,
which is Christ the Lord." It's truly a transcendent scene, reinstating spiritual awareness
in a godless commercialzed world of aluminum Christmas trees. Linus waiting for The Great Pumpkin's coming on Halloween is like
waiting for the Bethlehem Christmas Star (also 1919 poem
"The Second Coming" by W.B. Yeats).
Image Sources: It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
It's The Great Pumpkin 1966 Title Card (wikipedia.org)
A Charlie Brown Christmas (wikipedia.org);
Waiting for a long time to reach one's goal|
brings more joy than instant gratification
Edison inventing incandescent light,
Cartoonists often show a light bulb above or inside someone's head when they come up with a new idea
or solve the problem to some mystery. Such flash of insight implies an inner light shining
within us in making such discoveries.
In 1879 Thomas Alva Edison invented a carbon filament that burned for 40 hours.
In 1880 Edison improved his light bulb using a bamboo-derived filament that
lasted over 1200 hours. Historians Robert Friedel and Paul Israel list 22 inventors
of incandescent lamps prior to Joseph Wilson Swan and Thomas Edison. They conclude
that Edison's version was able to outstrip others because of a combination of three
factors: an effective incandescent material, a higher vacuum than others were able to
achieve and a high resistance lamp that made power distribution from a centralized source
economically viable. Another historian, Thomas Hughes, has attributed Edison's success to
the fact that he invented an entire, integrated system of electric lighting.
U.S. Patent #223898: Electric-Lamp.
Issued January 27, 1880 to Thomas Edison.
Inspiring Thomas Edison quote: "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
Image Sources: Light bulb in head (wisdomportal.com);
Thomas Edison (fineartamerica.com)
Wright Brothers' first flight at Kitty Hawk,|
Edmund Hillary's conquest of Mt. Everest,
Bannister breaking the four-minute mile.
First Flight at Kitty Hawk
by Wright Brothers (December 17, 1903)
Mount Everest (29,029 ft): Tallest mountain on Earth,
first summit ascent by Edmund Hillary (May 29, 1953)
Roger Bannister breaking
Four-Minute Mile (May 6, 1954)
There are many feats that witnessed repeated failures before they were successfully accomplished.
I have selected Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers, Edmund Hillary, and Roger Bannister among my heroes as their
triumphs were etched more deeply in my memory.
First successful flight of the Wright Flyer, by the
Wright Brothers. The plane traveled 120 ft (36.6 m)
in 12 seconds at 10:35 a.m., December 17, 1903, at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Orville Wright was at the controls of the machine,
lying prone on the lower wing with his hips in the cradle which operated the wing-warping mechanism.
Wilbur Wright ran alongside to balance the machine, and just released his hold on the forward upright
of the right wing in the photo. The starting rail, the wing-rest, a coil box, and other items needed
for flight preparation are visible behind the machine. This was considered "the first sustained and
controlled heavier-than-air, powered flight" by the Fédération Aéronautique.
Mount Everest is the tallest mountain on Earth. It literally means the top or the head
of the sky. Mount Everest touches the borders of China, Tibet, and Nepal and is a part of the Himalayan Range.
Its total height above sea level is 29,029 ft. The first successful ascent was by the New Zealander Edmund Hillary
and Tenzing Norgay, a Nepali sherpa climber. They reached the summit at 11:30 a.m. local time on 29 May 1953.
Breaking the four-minute mile barrier was first achieved on May 6, 1954, by Englishman Roger Bannister
at Oxford University's Iffley Road Track.
Photo Sources: Wright Brothers (>wisdomportal.com);
Mount Everest (famouswonders.com);
Roger Bannister (racingpast.ca);
Linus is practicing patience a virtue|
lost in today's world who has time to wait
for a soul mate the way Tristan did for Iseult,
The painting Patience
by Charles Spencelayh (1865-1958) depicts a man fishing
waiting patiently for his catch. Although patience is not one of the three Christian
(Faith, Hope, Charity), it is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit
(Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control). While other kids are collecting candies
on Halloween (gluttony & greed for material goods), Linus is practicing the virtue of patience waiting for the
Great Pumpkin (spiritual endeavor).
Trisan and Iseult is a 12th century tale
on the adulterous love between the Cornish knight Tristan and Irish princess Iseult. Richard Wagner popularized the tale
in his opera Tristan und Isolde (1859). Iseult was to marry
King Mark whom she has never seen. They drank a love potion and were enamored with each other. After her marriage to Mark,
she still loved Tristan, who pined for her till his last dying breath.
The engraving Patientia
(1615) by Hendrik Goltzius (1558-1617) is one of the Judaic "Three Virtues" in the British Museum,
the other being Scientia
Patience and forbearance are the virtues exemplified by the Biblical character Job,
who despite all the travails and hardships never lost his faith in God.
Photo Sources: Charles Spencelayh's Patience (artrenewal.org);
Linus in Pumpkin Patch (wisdomportal.com);
Tristan & Iseult (qcpages.qc.edu);
Goltzius's Patientia (commons.widimedia.org)
Dante for Beatrice, Héloïse for Abélard?
true love is a long-maturing process
like fine wine needing time for aging.
The love of Beatrice Portinari by
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) is detailed in
La Vita Nuova (1295).
When Dante writes in
La Vita Nuova XX: Love and the noble heart are but one thing we see how the
purity of his love for Beatrice has transformed him. His new life or spiritual rebirth
has energized his mind and heart, so that he could honor his beloved with even more passion and
devotion. The fruit of Dante's love for Beatrice is his epic poem
The Divine Comedy
how through romance he was able to attain the beatific vision and enlightenment.
Dante's love for Beatrice enables him to glow with a flame of charity (La Vita Nuova XI).
From here on, his spirit would rise to the fifth chakra (throat) the voice of poetry, then
ascend to the sixth chakra (third eye) celestial vision, and finally soar to the
(thousand-petal lotus) spiritual awakening and bliss.
We may partake in Dante's illuminating journey to paradise
when studying his Commedia.
Héloïse d'Argenteuil (1100-1164)
was a French nun, writer, scholar, and abbess, best known for her love affair and correspondence with
the philosopher & theologician Peter Abélard (1079-1142).
In Roman de la Rose, a French poem on the art of love,
Guillaume de Lorris wrote the first 4058 lines (1230) that
was completed by Jean de Meun's additional 17,724 lines (1275).
The passionate love of Héloïse & Abélard
are covered in this romantic tale.
Thousands of students came to Abélard's lectures in Paris (1110-1116), among them was Héloïse whom
he began an affair (1115-1116). Once her uncle Priest Fulbert found out, he separated them, but they continued to meet in secret.
To punish Abélard, a group of Fulbert's friends broke into Abélard's room one night and castrated him.
After this, Abélard became a monk in the Abbey of St Denis in Paris and Héloïse became a nun.
However, they wrote passionate love letters till the end.
Image Sources: Rossetti's Beatrice (wisdomportal.com);
Roman de la Rose (wikipedia.org);
Abelard & Heloise Surprised by Abbot Fulbert (fr.wikipedia.org)
Linus feels The Great Pumpkin will come
to his Patch because it's the most sincere
How endearing! The sage Chou Tun-yi said:
The Great Pumpkin was first mentioned by
Linus van Pelt (1959) in the comic strip
Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz.
The first time Linus says that the Great Pumpkin prefers sincere pumpkin patches is on
October 30, 1960.
Linus tells Charlie Brown "I doubt if he likes large pumpkin patches. They're too commercial.
He likes small homey ones. They're more sincere." So wonderful! This reminded me of the Chinese Neo-Confucian sage
"Sincerity is the foundation of the sage." (Penetrating Book of Changes, Ch. 1).
And in Ch. 6 "The way of the sage is nothing but humanity,
virtue, harmony, and rectitude. Preserve it and it will be ennobling. Practice it and it will be beneficial.
Prolong it and it will match Heaven and Earth. Is it not easy and simple? Is it hard to know?
If so, it is because we do not preserve, practice, and prolong it."
Photo Sources: October 30, 1960 Peanuts (peanuts.wikia.com);
Chou Tun-yi (wisdomportal.com)
"Sincerity is the foundation of the sage."
How true! Having a sincere heart will bring
sages and all good things to those who wait.
good things come to those who wait" is a proverb on patience as a virtue.
Violet Fane (1843-1905) wrote in her poem "Tout vient à qui sait attendre"
Ah! "All things come to those who wait" / (I say these words to make me glad). /
But something answers soft and sad, / "They come, but often come too late!"
[From Dawn to Noon: Poems,
(1872), page 95]. An earlier attribution may be found in
Clément Marot (1496-1544)
"tout vient à point à qui sait attendre" (1552).
Biblical citations on patience may be found in Galatians 5:22:
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,";
"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.";
"The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him."
I learned about Chou Tun-yi from Paul Brunton when I first
visited his home in Montreux, Switzerland (August 30-31, 1972). There was a
tanka of Chou Tun-yi on the wall along
with three other Chinese sages Lao Tzu, Confucius, Wang Yang Ming.
After persuading Dad to translate Chou Tun-yi's works into English, I tried to live his philosophy.
Having a sincere heart also clarifies one's mind, so I could do better research in
structures. The sincerity of my activities also brought many sages to my life who guided me to peace and blessings.
I didn't know when walking into his American Brahman Bookstore in Ithaca on April 5, 1968, that
Anthony Damiani would be my first spiritual mentor.
His free Wednesday seminars on perennial philosophy introduced me to the spiritual quest for enlightenment.
Through Tony, I was fortunate to meet Paul Brunton
in Switzerland on my four trips to Europe (1972-1979). PB writes
"Learn how to wait patiently for the right answer. Only by a profound patience which is willing to continue waiting
until the correct answer comes through intuition."
[The Wisdom of the Overself (1943), p. 224].
"This Quest is not an undertaking of a few weeks or months. It is, as I have often said, a lifetime's work: patience
is required from us and must be given by us."
[Notebooks of Paul Brunton: Volume 2: The Quest (1985), Ch. 2,
I met Chinmayananda in 1972
and attended over 100 lectures on the Gita and Upanishads in Boston and New York (1972-1977).
"Patience always elevates and strengthens our character." Another insight:
"Faith is the belief in what we do not know, so that we come to know what we believe in."
[Chinmayananda, "Say Cheese!":
Witty Wisdom (2004), p. 100]. Professor Stuart Edelstein introduced me to
Master Subramuniya when he lectured at Cornell (June 13, 1970).
I invited him to my apartment where he gave me darshan and presented me with three books
The Clear White Light, The Self God, and Cognizantability (June 14, 1970).
When he came to Barnes & Noble in Redwood City, he autographed his Merging with Siva
(June 15, 1999) almost exactly 29 years later. He was clean shaven and had the brightest eyes
I've ever seen back then, but now he looks like Moses
Subramuniya on patience: "The devotee learns patience. He learns to wait for the proper timing of things in
his life, or for many more lives. There is no urgency. He trust God and trust the path he is on."
[Merging with Siva (1999), p. 877].
Larry Rosenberg invited me to the Cambridge Zen Center
where I heard many Dharma talks by the Korean Zen Master
Seung Sahn (1974-2000).
He signed my copy Dropping Ashes on the Buddha (1976)
after my interview with him (April 10, 1980).
Discussing the |