Valentine’s Day typically brings to campus a proliferation of themed dinners at program houses, from Full House’s restaurant-style offering to the Eclectic Pill Buffet and Götterdämmerung, German Haus’s annual “orgy of destruction.” But this year, a new entry from Buddhist House received a large share of student interest.
“People don’t tend to think of Buddhism as a particularly roman-tic faith,” said BuHo resident Ethan Tittler-Schortz ’12. “While it’s true that Buddhism can’t compete with Hinduism’s Kama Sutra and lacks the behind-closed-doors kinkiness of something like, you know, Catholicism or the polygamous frat boy wish fulfillment of Mormon-ism, there’s still plenty going on under the saffron robes.”
According to participant Anne-Marie Jornsson ’13, the couples were first led into the meditation room for forty-five minutes of yogic breathing exercises in order to make them more peaceful and serene for the ensuing date. After centering themselves, the couples moved into the dining room where they took their seats on heart-shaped floor mats at low-standing tables for two. BuHo residents then treated the guests to green tea and white rice with tofu in asceticism sauce.
After dinner, the couples engaged in visualization exercises led by BuHo’s own Erica Marv-Tenny ’11 designed to entice the couples to abandon worldly attachment. Participants were instructed to close their eyes and breathe deeply. Once the couples had established a healthy breath rhythm was established, Marv-Tenny told them to imagine a baby white rabbit in a forest, a green field, and a lotus leaf. Participants were then told to imagine that their significant lover had been killed in a train accident, botched home invasion, or ill-fated appendectomy. After these images had been sufficiently internalized, Marv-Tenny directed the couples’ attention back to the previous images, asking, “Isn’t the bunny just as lovely as it was before? Is the lotus any less perfect?”
The lucky couples then boarded the BuHo love-bus, where they departed from campus to be dispersed, one by one, into the surrounding woodlands. The couples, now separated into their component parts, finally had some time to reflect on the ultimate meaninglessness of being.
“The forest of solitude taught me bunches about the perpetual cycles suffering engendered by my fruitless cravings,” said Andy O’Goldfreud ’14, “As soon as I get the squirrel bites checked out, I’m going begin my journey on the beautiful path of mindfulness.”
Still, some others were less enthusiastic. “I suppose the Buddhist thing was OK,” said Lucy Trupmun ’11, “but next year my boyfriend and I are going back to the basics: Pizza Hut, grindcore, and enthusiastic humping.”