Was the Buddha a dude somewhat like the character “The Dude” played by Jeff Bridges in the film, The Big Lebowski (1998)? I ask this question because I remember something Bodhidharma had said about the Buddha that sounded dudistic.
“A buddha is an idle person. He doesn’t run around after fortune and fame. What good are such things in the end?" (Red Pine, The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma, p. 35).
While it is speculative on my part to take up the subject of dudism as regards the Buddha, the life of the Buddha is certainly not far from the contemporary ‘dude profile’. As I have observed throughout my life, every true dude is always trying to go with the flow, avoiding needless hassles. This is what the Buddha did which eventually led him to the babe Sujata, her magical elixir, and then the Bodhi-tree where he sat and took on Mara the Evil One finally to win full enlightenment.
Backing up a little, the ‘dude path’ opened up for the Buddha after he found out that doing painful ascetic practices to achieve enlightenment were not going with the flow. The true means to enlightenment—and the dude flow—is more akin to Gertrude Stein’s wonderful insight who said: “It takes a lot of time to be a genius, you have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing.” The really doing nothing part, I hasten to add, is not even caring to agitate one’s mind so that the unagitated, clear-light Buddha Mind is instantly seen.
When the Buddha rejected the path of painful ascetic practices, which we can guess went against the way of the dude, his colleagues were not too happy. They said:
“By the achievements of this path, the Sramana Gautama [the Buddha-to-be] will never be able to manifest the saintly wisdom which is above the highest human knowledge. As he is now eating food in abundance, and as he is begging food, he is clearly an ignorant and a stupid fellow” (Lalitavistara Sutra).
Yes!—Gautama the Buddha, at this point, became a full-fledged dude. But even before the Buddha came to reject such asceticism to go with the flow, he showed dude tendencies. According to the Lalitavistara Sutra, he always practiced asceticism with ten young village girls by the names of Bala, Balagupta, Supriya, Vajayasena, Atimuktakamala, Sundari, and Kumbhakari, Uluvillika, Jatilika, and of course Sujata. This prompts me to say that no one can be a true dude and neglect women—and least of all a young woman like Sujata bearing her magical drink that would insure the Buddha’s enlightenment.
No doubt the foremost and the greatest of all religious dudes, was the Buddha.