0013 Mary Poppins: Zen Master

May 07, 2014, 04:44 PM

This is Randi Hacker with another Postcard from Abroad from the KU Center for East Asian Studies. Mary Poppins. We all know she was magical and mystical but a Zen master? Yeah. Author PL Travers was a student of mysticism and studied Zen Buddhism in Kyoto, Japan. She said that every Mary Poppins story is essentially a Zen story. Let’s take a look, shall we? Buddhism promotes the connectivity of all things. Mary Poppins is related to all things: A hamadryad snake is her cousin. So is the sun. Buddhism preaches being in the moment. Whenever Mary Poppins and Jane and Michael Banks return from one of their magical adventures, Mary Poppins denies that it ever happened. Followers of Zen seek perfection of the person. Remember Mary Poppins’s tape measure? The one that measured character not girth? When she wrapped it round her waist, it said: Practically perfect in every way. Om Mary Poppins hum.

From the KU Center for East Asian Studies, this is Randi Hacker. Wish you were here

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"Mary Poppins flying over London" Image courtesy of sikeri. Released under a CC BY 2.0 license.