Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Dudeism in Chiang Mai

One place you could visit in Chiang Mai is the Dudeist Church. It is located at Moon Mueang Road Mueang Chiang Mai 50200. It is nothing really to look at and it probably won’t be open. And yet it has to be one of the most intriguing places in Chiang Mai to visit for the fact that it is home to one of the newest and most harmless religious cults in the world. The religion is Dudeism. The Church is called the Church of the Latter-Day Dude. And its founder, the Dudely Lama, Oliver Benjamin live at this address.

You might think this is a joke, but it is not. Look it up on Wikipedia. The religion has over 250,000 adherents and 160,000 ordained priests. Although for those of scholarly and non-dude bent Dudeism may appear a mock religion, for many normal people the religion seems to have a certain persuasiveness.

To gasp the essence of the Dudeist message you just have to recall the character of Jeff ‘The Dude’ Lebowski in the Coen Brothers’ movie called ‘The Big Lebowski’. The central character ‘abides’. He likes taking naps, getting high and not working too hard or getting uptight. He is not into violence or messing with other people. He gets happiness from just being himself and doing the simple things in life such as bowling and hanging out with his friends. He loves his rug because it holds his room together.

Oliver Benjamin has made a credible case for connecting this portrayal of a world-view with the spiritual message of Taoism - ‘go with the flow’.

Anyway, if you can chat to Oliver Benjamin or hear him talk (probably wearing a brown bathrobe and holding a white Russian) you might find that that particular day in Chiang Mai turned out to be a memorable if not significant day in your life.