The Big Lebowski is one of the Coen Brothers best movies. It’s about a slacker/stoner that goes by the name The Dude who investigates a kidnapping plot. It’s a fantastic film and if you haven’t seen it you definitely should.
So one day Oliver Benjamin, also known as The Dudely Lama, saw The Big Lebowski for the second time in a small cafe in northern Thailand. The movie affected him in a way he didn’t expect. It was transformative.
“I felt as if I’d seen a story that put all the difficulties of modern life into a manageable perspective. And it was probably the most touchingly funny film I’d ever seen.
“Oddly enough, I’d long wanted to start a religion. During my travels I’d become an earnest student of religion and philosophy.”
And so The Church of the Latter-Day Dude was born. They even have a website. Dudeism.com. Yes, this is a thing.
The Church of the Latter-Day Dude looks at their religion as a sort of modern day form of Taoism, based on Jeff Bridges’ The Dude.
“Though ‘The Big Lebowski’ is a story about an aging ex-hippie in Los Angeles who is trying to solve a kidnapping case, at its heart it’s really a story about how to live your life, how to deal with conflict and how to maintain peace of mind in a world that’s gone crazy. So there’s really no distinction between the movie and Eastern philosophy — the movie is infused with it.”
The organization makes a sizable bit of money from their online store, but contends that when they expand they can use it to help Dudes that are stuck in run-down jobs they don’t like. Although the group is currently 95% male and they’re looking for some Dudettes to join the fray, although Benjamin puts the call out for “mellow, unflashy chicks who hand around in their bathrobes and take baths with candles and whale sounds.”
You can even get ordained as a Dudeist priest, which allows you to minister religious ceremonies (funerals, weddings, etc) in MOST U.S. states and some foreign countries. There are currently 150,000 Dudeist priests out in the wild right now.
So the next time you watch The Big Lebowski and it speaks to you, maybe checkout out The Church of Latter-Day Dude is in the card. Or not. Yeah, probably not. Maybe just check out the DVD commentary or something, much easier. [CNN]