Mud, the brown sticky Mississippi mud is the metaphor in the movie Mudbound that I watched last night. Mud, the deep brown dirty karma of American racism gets washed from us in this story of two poor families scratch out a living in the fields of the south during WWII where Jim Crow feeds like a vulture on them.
The Jewel is in the Lotus goes the Buddhist mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum, and the Lotus because it is rooted in the mud is the metaphor for the transcendence of the mud of culture that we are all rooted in. Like a fish bowl, our collective culture and individual culture of family history is the shape of pain in our lives because no matter what time we live in, there is always this Lotus that wants to leave the mud and break thought the water of the mind to bloom in the sun. Something in us wants to transcend the mud, and, therefore, we need the mud in our lives so that we can transcend it and break free. Without the mud there would be no Lotus. The Lotus refuses to be Mudbound because the mud is the mother of the lotus.
The mud of our collective and personal history is both binding and liberating. The mud is ambiguous. Because of the mud we suffer; without the mud we cannot be liberated from suffering. The Lotus makes the mud its friend, its source, the ground our of which it grows. Only children and Buddhas know the true use of mud.
We have to use the mud we are given,
says the Lotus.
For the Lotus, the mud is a gift from God.
What is this moment, but mud.
What is my life, my history, but mud.
It is here that I am planted,
it is here that I grow.
When I accept the mud,
I cannot be bound by the mud.
The mud is ambiguous.