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Little Buddha


des
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Ok it's a movie, and it is about a zillion years old. :-) But tonight I saw it again for the first time in a long time. For those who don't know this is an interesting movie. It has two parallel plots that to my mind don't always quite work together, sometimes seeming to be a story that is being read to the kid and other times seeming to actually be part of his experience-- the latter didn't work at all, imo.

 

Anyway this is about a kid in Seattle that some Tibetan Buddhists decide might be their reincarnated teacher. Along side this story is the story of Buddha. (I think the Buddhists have a good imagination about their spiritual leader as his early life is quite inventive, and parallels the rather mystical birth of Jesus in some ways.) Anyway the boy's family is in a personal crisis, particularly the father who has lost a good friend and business partner. There is an empty house and somber rather heavy music. (There is a real story of an American child that goes to live in India around then so some of this story may have some grain of fact.), Anyway this is contrasted to the lively existence and quite baffling (by Western standards) of the monks in India.

 

The kid and dad eventually make it to India where they have found two other children who might also be the reincarnated teacher. And dad comes face to face with his own issues of mortality. The kid has unusual spiritual sensibilities and the dad is particularly mundane and this part comes across nicely. (Or maybe it's dad's acting, yesh!!!) IMO, they needed more scenes of the kid with the monks, as these were the strongest non-pagentry scenes.

 

In the end I found the kid's spiritual sensibilities to a bit too keen (but I did really like the ending). Even though I thought he was well-acted/played. (And was Keanu Reeves just too handsome-- and totally uncompelling-- a Buddha after all he had gone thru??) But I did enjoy the whole East /West clash thing that was going on. I did like the letting go of ashes scene though...

 

As an intro to Buddhism (well I'm a bit past this easy an intro) I think it was something of a mixed bag. Anyway I think it's worth watching though I doubt you could pick this up at Blockbusters.

 

 

--des

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I went to India and lived as a monk, not buddhist, but I enjoyed the movie because it brought back memories of the older monks who taught and guided me with patience.

Edited by soma
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