Buddhism and American Cinema (SUNY series in Buddhism and by John Whalen-Bridge

By John Whalen-Bridge

Discusses either depictions of Buddhism in movie and Buddhist takes on various films.

In 1989, an analogous 12 months the Dalai Lama was once presented the Nobel Peace Prize, a decade-long growth of flicks devoted to Buddhist humans, historical past, and tradition begun. providing the 1st scholarly remedy of Buddhism and cinema, the editors recommend that there are varieties of Buddhist movie: those who are approximately Buddhists and people who should not. Focusing on modern American choices, the participants expand a two-pronged procedure, discussing how Buddhism has been captured by way of administrators and offering Buddhist-oriented opinions of the worlds represented in motion pictures that will look to don't have any reference to Buddhism. movies mentioned diversity from these set in Tibet, reminiscent of Kundun and Lost Horizon, to these set good outdoor of any Buddhist milieu, resembling Groundhog Day and The Matrix. The participants clarify the Buddhist theoretical techniques that emerge in those works, together with karma, the bardo, and reincarnation, and examine them in terms of interpretive thoughts that come with feminism, postcolonialism, and contemplative mental techniques.

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This magic-realist framework can be understood quite well in terms of a Buddhist understanding of samsara (the notion that beings are trapped in a cycle of repetition because of ignorance) and karma (the notion that our problems are caused by past actions and that we must eliminate causes if we do not want to repeat results). The notions of samsara and karma, when put together, are problems that require some form of purification, either by meditation or good works of the sort that bring beings to modify their reactive behaviors.

Reliance on such fortune-tellers is an aspect of Vietnamese practice, specifically village-based practice, of Buddhism in that it mixes a traditional custom of believing in fortune-telling with religious principles. In the film, the spirits of Le Ly’s brothers could be called forth if they died away from home, since their lost and unburied bodies were to become a source of much sorrow in her family. They want to give the men a proper burial if they died. This could be done in a spiritual fashion regardless of recovering the actual bodies, in a process akin to Western rituals to finalize grieving in such circumstances.

Buddhism in popular culture can be overt in this manner, or it can be inferred. For example, critics have argued that Buddhist bodhisattva ideals find their way into science fiction fantasies such as the Jedi Code of the Star Wars films. The countercultural celebration of Asian difference has been an important motivation; Orientalist fantasy can also account for the widespread dissemination of signs and symbols originating from Asian philosophical and religious writings and systems of practice.

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