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Dharma Connect: Harold Ramis, Hungry-Ghost Buster

Harold Ramis, who died Monday, was the calm center of antic comedies including "Ghostbusters," "Animal House," and "Groundhog Day," That's no accident -- he was a practicing Zen Buddhist.

"It's my shield and my armor in the work I do," he said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. "it's to keep a cheerful, Zen-like detachment from everything."

Admirer Judd Apatow, who's directed his share of zany films, said Ramis used to carry around a sheet titled “The 5-Minute Buddhist,” which sums up such tenets as “The self, the soul, the ego are mental projections, false beliefs ….” Apatow said he got a copy from Ramis and keeps it in his desk.

(Ramis gave an laminated, autographed copy to an interviewer for Shambhala Sun for its fundraising auction, pictured below. The description says:

"The idea was to present a simple Buddhist primer on something the size of a Chinese takeout menu,' he wrote in an accompanying note. Instead of a guide to putting together a dinner by choosing, say, the five spice tofu from column A and the egg drop soup from column B, this menu was called The Five-Minute Buddhist. It listed the five aggregates, the four noble truths, the eightfold path, the seven factors of enlightenment, the four sublime states, the five hindrances, and the five precepts, ending with a quote from Thich Nhat Hanh: 'The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment, feeling fully alive.'"

Read Ramis' interview with Shambhala Sun about how Buddhism influenced his films here.


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Download Egon's 5-Minute Buddhist

Inspired by this post, I recreated Harold Ramis's 5-Minute Buddhist sheet as PDF. You can download it here:



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