One of my first ever trips I booked in the city was to go and see Rudolfo Valentino! My hostel wasn’t ready yet so I had the half day to kill, in which I planned to spend wisely paying tribute to the first ever sex god of Hollywood. Very long before Brad Pitt! If you had a look at his history, like in the Hollywood cemetery program, Rudolfo was so popular! He had million of fans that were so crazy about him! So crazy that you can just tell, by the time his short life ended thousands of women (and men too) flocked to his funeral, mourning and crying. In addition, there were suicide reports of men and women linked to the death of Valentino. So, as you can imagine, the fanbase around his time was not normal, but more like a proper mass hysteria all around the country! As my driver was driving me to visit his museum in his home town Castellaneta where he was born, he asked me ‘why do you care about Valentino?’ As he was a local, I was so surprised that he didn’t even care or seem to know about this man with the eternal status in Hollywood. This was the same reaction I had with a tour guide I had a few days later who did not even know about him! I told the driver of how I found out about Valentino when I was watching the documentary, and the popular man indeed had some fans in America who I saw in the reviews cared to come and visit his museum! I even gave the tour guide the idea that she should take a tour about Valentino for tourists. It would be unique and a success! But as I reached closer to the museum, I could really tell that there had been zero publicity about this one time popular icon of Hollywood. Then it hit me with the thought that well, who would be so active to publicize about this dead man 93 years after his death since 1926. However, I strongly thought that some active publicity would bring some life and flowing cash into this sleepy town. I had some pictures taken with his statue and waited a few minutes for his museum to be opened.
As it normally opens on limited days, I thought that I would have my luck as it was Sunday. But turned out that no one even came to open it. I was so confused as to why they said it would be opened when the tour agency contacted them. Obviously, this shows that either no one really cared or knew about him, not even another person waited with me by the door. The town was like a ghost town. So afterwards, I just took a few more pictures by this painting outside and around the museum, and just left.
Who would believe that a man who had such hysteria around the time he was alive would be left with nothing now. Nothing lasts forever. People once rose to fame, and one day like all of us, had no more existence. People who used to know us and praise us die, there is no more of them. Our legacies die. Over very quickly. No living memories, no trace. Yet, we still think we are so special, we wish to be famous, be like this and be like that, try to prolong it as long as we can, and but will forever disappear. But tanha, our craving is still very alive in our soul throughout reincarnations, bringing us together with our body, that gives a life on this earth. On this earth, we exist to die. But during the time, we walk upon the path of our karma, good and bad. No matter how much luck you have on this earth, everybody has to only not go through the inevitable law of karma but also go through things that upset the jai/heart. I see that in most part of his life, he has to go through a lot of paybacks, through the struggle of his survival, to the complicated love lives and career, and finally the disease that ended his short life at 31. Whether or not he wished in his past life that he would like to be very famous, in comparison to everything he has to go through, seems very swift and minor, no real cure to his pain. It reminds me in the Buddhist context that you have to be careful what you wish for. If you think the body is the land of happiness because you can be this and that, but remember that everyone has to walk through the path of payback which is unpredictable, scary and painful. It is better to purify the ego and gilead from the jit and work towards nirvana. Remember that we are all only just the four elements that is conceived by foolishness that has a birth, stabilizes, deteriorates and eventually results in nullity eventually. People who are obsessed with celebrities remember this, everyone has to die, no matter what time, people have to die, don’t fantasize too much about the human
body. As the Buddha said, we are only attached to the skin. The rest is something we don’t want to see. So, don’t ever feel like it’s a waste or anything if someone’s body goes. When the person has a breath, that person is a fantasy, when the person is dead, the body becomes a horror story. The body is a dead log with the soul that gives it characteristic that we see. When the breath goes, the sound goes, the animation goes, the body rots. We are foolish to think that the body is a good thing. It is full of dirtiness and suffering. So we get out of suffering by detaching ourselves from getting lost in sound, picture, smell, touch and taste, and stop getting lost in other people’s body because that body is not theirs and is not a good thing anyway. Even if he stayed alive longer, inside the body that has movement, what I mean is that a body that walks towards aging every day, would you still be obsessed with him when his skin became wrinkly? Probably not. Our tanha likes fresh and beautiful things. Our feelings also change over time too, so don’t make these things the be all and end all of your life. You may find that you are into this and then you are into another thing next year. This type of thought will lead to more peace. Even if you don’t even want to think that way, if you lose one, you will always have another as replacement. There is no point in ending your life because one loses theirs. Death is inevitable, the best thing to conquer it is to not make it not happen but aim for the emotion of indifference which people have to work up to. Evaluate that this is what happens with the love for gammakun that relies on gilead. It causes heat and unsettlement. Don’t worry about other people’s destinies, people have their own karma. They have to walk their way, and you have to walk your own way too.