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Film Review - Little Buddha
What is the sound of one hand clapping? Who the hell cares? Luckily, most people have two hands and are very capable of applauding this film.
Little Buddha is a wonderful film about the searching for a soul. Keeping with Buddhist beliefs that one's soul is reincarnated after death, a Tibetan lama searches the world for his master, whom he believes might be a young boy in Seattle.
Through the process of trying to verify the boy's identity, the boy and the audience are gently taught the basics of the Buddhist faith. This is very well done. There's no clobbering you over the head with dogma. There's no preaching that if you don't believe this, you are doomed.
It's told as a story of a man named Siddhartha whom the world would later call Buddha. Siddhartha is a prince whose father shelters him from the pain of the world; he only knows of pleasure. He doesn't even know what it means to grow old. Siddhartha runs away from home when he learns what his father has done. In his travels and studies, he develops a philosophy that extremes should be avoided.
All of this training is a bit much for the young boy's father to take. He wants the lama to leave his son alone. Then a friend of his dies, and his own soul-searching turns his thinking.
This movie is extremely gentle in all it does. Although the Tibetans seem rather earthy and real, the American parents are played rather two-dimensionally. The gem of this film is the Buddhist teaching. Sorry, no sex or violence here.