Posted by: KG | Monday, December 27, 2010

Samsara (2001)

“Is it better to satisfy a thousand desires, or to conquer one?”
.Some thoughts about, & driven by the movie.

Movie after movie I watch, its hard to miss the male domination, a chauvinism that one wonders why we have to adhere to in popular cinema/art (Batman Begins/Dark Knight being recent movies I watched). Because stories such as these are more readily available to us. Is that why? This is the incentive that clouds our conscience.

But, what about women? Such negligence/asymmetry of rights & representation has also been a glaring factor in the history of Buddhism, and other such ascetic religions. The principal factor being women are more tied to the *earth* in many different ways, and hence a renunciation as *deep* as men not being possible.

It is interesting that Buddhism is quite contradictory with respect to this. On the one hand, this whole history of male domination. On the other is that Buddhist asceticism is being whatever is, which is as tied to *earth* as can be. Except, there are diverse interpretations by people, of what it means to them. And, some of us interpret that Samsara is pain, ultimately, and that one moves away from it as much as possible. It is not for us to *judge* such an interpretation, to each hir own suffering and path, but it is also educative to repeatedly question ourselves if such an interpretation is made for the wrong reasons. As an escapism from life, as a continuation of the historic negligence of duties of men towards women and the rest of society (and v.v., where applicable).

It also reminded me of my own *duties* as I try to *configure* them, if such a thing is possible at all, towards society, towards family and friends. Renunciation to me has been a mixed bag. On the one hand, I haven’t been able to completely renounce a few things, although I wish for a deep renunciation. On the other, it seems more to be denial of what I perceive to be my core being rather than a renunciation of them. And then, there are the things that I don’t want to renounce, as it is. It is difficult to describe the complexity of my process of renunciation, which is where movies and stories come into the picture. They make some sense in some complex way thats not easy to put in words. Anyways, part of the duties I feel, is the negligence of the feminine, and the feminine principle which I have been thinking about correcting. There are a couple of dialogues in the final scene that ask these important questions reinforcing the feminine. <swiftly, forcefully axes some high density cholestrol>

These are some thoughts about the questions posed by Samsara, which among other things, is a beautiful and excellently made movie with a lot of ideas to ponder over for people searching for and treading The Path, or whatever you wish to call it. The movie builds up quite conventionally, repeated references are made to the life of Siddhartha and finishes with a beautiful feminine twist that grounds us all closer *home* after beginning with a quest for the *heavens*. It is beautifully life-affirming in an uniquely Buddhist way. It is a treasure for every Buddhist, and all spiritual seekers, in general. It is a treasure to be studied, and again.

“How can one ever prevent a drop of water, from drying up?”

PS: I love the way the movie confuses reality and dreams, not unlike another favorite, The Last Temptation of Christ. That is another beautiful way to point at the truth. To suggest how ordinary reality of cycles of suffering (Samsara) can be like a dream.

PPS: A lot of scenes have been shot beautifully, but the sex scenes deserve special mention! Tasteful.

PPPS: I don’t know how they direct kids, some really sweet sequences involving expressions of kids. 🙂


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