Sunday, January 22, 2006

La Vie de Bouddha

The primary source of information for this film seems to come from village stories and myths. Some elements that the village men tell in the film do not directly comply with that of the Sutras or traditional belief. The Western scholar in the film draws strange conclusions that make one ponder his intention for the documentary.
While standing on the edge of Vulture Peak, he points out that a full assembly of monks could not have sat there, given the small area of the peak. Contrary to his discovery, the sutras mention the Buddha and his assembly near Vulture Peak, but never does it state that the monks walked out onto the rock formation and listened. My guess would be that the scholar read a summary of a sutra, not a direct translation, and then formulated this idea from that watered-down source. Another moment occurs when Gotama is a boy and his parents attend the harvesting festival, which the scholar tells us depicts Gotama's family working in the fields, as they did every day, forgetting the most significant fact- they were attending a festival. He says that contrary to our current belief, the King of the Sakya people spent his days in the fields. Moments like this are throughout the film.
I would not recommend this film as an educational source, but it does have entertainment value. It can be warming to see the myths of Buddhism told from a people that have spun these tales for 2000 + years.
Overall, however, I was disappointed.


At 7:05 AM, Anonymous Emptiness said...

I was also rather disappointed in this documentary. It was a "well, why not" pick out of the blue, which I hoped would help me to explain buddhism to my fiancee. No such luck however. I found myself constantly stopping the film to explain how I'd never heard this or that thing about the Buddha's life or that I disagreed with the narrator.

The only part of the film I enjoyed was seeing laypeople turning the Buddha into some mythical larger-than-life figure and realizing that there will always be people that confuse the moon with it's reflection.


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