Finding Siddhartha


Finding Siddhartha Essay, Research Paper

The film “Little Buddha” was released in 1993 and was directed by Bernardo Bertolucci. The movie was basically a story within a story and therefor took place in two different time periods. The main character in the main story was Jesse Conrad. He was born one year after the death of the Lama, which makes Lama Norbu think that he may be the reincarnation of his dead teacher. The boy is a young American living in Seattle, and although he does not look like he would have any connection to the Buddhist religion he does show a lot of interesting characteristics like his love for masks, and kind warm personality. With the consent of his mother Lisa Conrad and his father Dean Conrad, Jesse is brought to Katmandu with by Lama Norbu and his father. The other main characters include Raju a young Indian boy who befriends Jesse and also fits the description of the reincarnation of the Lama. The third possible reincarnation of the Lama is a young Indian girl. This girl, in my opinion, represents the antagonist in the film. She comes across a kind of a snob and doesn’t represent the Buddhist religion very well. The other story that takes place in the film is the story of the first Buddha Siddhartha. The main story takes place in the present time period in the United States, India, and Bhutan.

The story of Siddhartha takes place about 2,500 years ago in India. The Buddhist sect represented in the film is most likely Vajrayana, because the Lama looking for the reincarnation of his teacher is Tibetan, he wears orange robes, and he is looking for the next Dalai Lama.

Lama Norbu is looking for the next Dalai Lama. His search leads him to three possibilities, Jesse Conrad, Raju, and the Indian Girl. To find out which of them is the real Dalai Lama they travel to Bhutan to be tested. At the end of the tests, Lama Norbu decides that all three of the children are the next Dalai Lama. The film shows many examples of the Buddhist practice. There is a part that shows how they make extravagant artwork using sand and then destroy it as soon as it is done. The movie and Lama Norbu show that it is important to have passion for all beings, to give of one self and to above all else, pass on knowledge like the Buddha. Also the statues depicted in the film show expressions of love. The aspects of reincarnation are expressed as each of the new Lama’s show their respect for the deceased Lama Norbu. Jesse returns his soul to the Ocean, Raju returns him to the sky, and the Indian girl returns him to the tree that represents the tree Siddhartha sat under.

This movie made Buddhism look very peaceful and did a good job in trying to show the spirit of meditation and enlightenment. The Buddhist monks live very simple lives and not only do they practice their religion but they live very strictly by it. They don’t try to change it as their culture changes. All of the Buddhists in the film looked happy even when they were dying. I don’t know if this is true in reality, but I do know that they welcome death and prepare for it by meditating. Other things I like about the religion is that they are always searching for knowledge. The thing that I did not like about Buddhism is that it looked like a rather boring lifestyle.

The religion represented in the film shows a much deeper and more traditional way or worship than my own. The Buddhists represented in the film live their religion while I don’t spend nearly as much time thinking about God as they do thinking about enlightenment.

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