March 10, 2014
Filmmaker Harold Ramis's pocket-sized Buddhist manifesto
In a profession famous for its metropolitan Jews, late comedian and filmmaker Harold Ramis was a practicing Buddhist…and, well, a metropolitan Jew. He is well known for directorial achievements in American hilarity like Caddyshack and Groundhog Day—the latter carrying some intricate Buddhist underpinnings. Over the course of his later life, Ramis deepened his relationship with Buddhism, which culminated in a visit with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. That life came to a sudden end last month, when Ramis died of a rare blood vessel disease. He was only 69 years old.
Luminaries of all stripes lamented Ramis’s death and commemorated his life. Rainn Wilson, geek funnyman supreme and host of his own spiritually curious YouTube series, called Ramis “the Buddha of Comedy.” Jack Black described him as “a force for good in the universe,” while Judd Apatow reminisced about Ramis’s paternal sensibility: “We hired him to play Seth [Rogen’s] father in Knocked Up because we all saw him as the dream dad—funny, warm, and wise.” Even president Obama issued a statement paying tribute to the cinematic stalwart.
In the wake of Ramis’s death, friends and family have shared what he called “Five-Minute Buddhist,” his pocket-sized primer on the basic teachings of the Buddha. Laminated and tri-folded “like a Chinese takeout menu,” the sheet came with him wherever he went.
We share a PDF replica of the Five-Minute Buddhist below, courtesy of Todd Kuhns. Perhaps it will bring some of the radiance and joy—if not rollicking laughter—that Ramis spread during his lifetime.
(Click for full size.)