Sunday, March 4, 2012


Received in email:

This photo shows the collapse of Torrero Alvaro Munera, as he realized in the middle of the his last fight... the injustice to the animal. From that day forward he became an opponent of bullfights.
"And suddenly, I looked at the bull. He had this innocence that all animals have in their eyes, and he looked at me with this pleading. It was like a cry for justice, deep down inside of me. I describe it as being like a prayer - because if one confesses, it is hoped, that one is forgiven. I felt like the worst shit on earth." 
This email made me think that although animal-rights activists may be dancing in the streets, still, however good the cause, it is not good causes that count so much. What counts is what dances in your heart.


  1. Not sure of the accuracy of the post - Munero was gored and paralyzed during his last fight - he became an opponent of bullfighting later, during his recovery

  2. Anonymous -- You are absolutely correct. There was no shazzam moment on the bloody sands, but only later as he was recuperating.

    I should have been more cautious about the email ... which banged my chimes because of my own run-in with bullfighting which I posted elsewhere:

    When I was a kid, my mother caught me pulling the wings off a fly. She reproved me tartly, "If you're going to kill something, just kill it!" Looking back, I'd say, she was right.

    Years later, having read Ernest Hemingway's praise for the valor and courage of the bull ring, I went to a bullfight in Tiajuana, Mexico. I managed to stay through a single confrontation. It was, in my mind, beyond inhumane. It was purely the stupidest, most infuriatingly self-centered activity I had ever witnessed.

    But in the same way that the matador was forced to pay attention-attention-attention (or risk getting gored, perhaps fatally), so I in the stands was forced to pay attention-attention-attention. The stupidity that knew no bounds was not just out there on the bloody sands. It reached clearly and precisely into my own guts. It wasn't enough to stand back and speak virtuously about not killing. It was only enough to know without doubt that I was a killer. No magical-mystery-tour, philosophical or religious or virtue-laden cant: I ... was... a... killer.

    Attention is something we all can bring to bear in Buddhism. It is not necessary to put ourselves in extreme circumstances, though those circumstances can sometimes be useful. Attention is always available... and it's a useful tool to employ under whatever the circumstances may be.

    Just my take.

    Lots of emotion and lots of sincerity don't add up to a lot of fact. Mea culpa.