The Fourth Messenger
by Lauren Fabumni
Last Sunday, March 3, some of us participating in the Spring Practice Period ventured out from City Center to Berkeley so we could take in the musical story of the life of the Buddha, The Fourth Messenger (book and lyrics by Tanya Shaffer and music and lyrics by Vienna Teng). The trip was supported by a generous gift of discounted tickets for our SFZC’s City Center residential and practice period students.
It should be noted that Buddha was portrayed as a woman in this particular version of Buddha’s life. This female Buddha was portrayed as being very human, struggling with her commitment to teach the world and with her commitments to her own family. (You may remember that Buddha left his wife and young child to find an end to suffering.)
Many issues were visited in the musical: the student-teacher relationship, students sharing stories with each other, the deeply personal search for truth, visiting the lake of despair, monkey mind, controversy, temptations, transformation and transparency and much more. It is safe to say that everyone was informed and entertained, even if it meant staying up past the usual bedtime for Zen Practice Period students who get up in time to sit in the meditation hall at 5:25am.
The show might be already sold out, but if you have a chance go see it.