More DNA Buddhi
Dec 09, 1994 09:19 PM
by Keith Price
Thanks for the comments!
If one examines the work an life of Bertolucci, one can see how
an espescially gifted and concerned and passionate
(compassionate) man might approach the story of Siddharta with
new and fresh insights for the general public. I believe the
film stands alone as a work of art apart from the Buddhist and
spiritual elements. But the film is all the more powerful and
meaningful to me and other theosophists because of these themes.
Bertolucci was born in a welthy family not unlike Siddharta. He
dabbled in poetry before settling on film as his life's work. As
many of his generation, he embraced not Buddhism, but socialism
in response to the special suffering of our modern world. I
problem isn't so much hunger and death (though those certainly
still exist) but what to do with all our wealth. The romantic
socialists (Fabians?) I like to call them see a return to a
golden age through the magic of socialism. I say magic, because
we all know it hasn't really worked.
Later, Bertolucci became somewhat of a decadent dreamer and
nihilist. Can anybody (who saw it) forget the power "The
Conformist" had on our imaginations in the seventies?
Most people are most familiar with "The Last Emporer". The story
of the somewhat humorous, very pathetic rise and fall of the last
emperor of China. Echoes (or foreshadowings?) of the
reincarnation of Buddha (the divine king) and Bertolucci's own
life reverberate through this film.
And now we have "The Little Buddha". Bertolucci has added a
special patina of modernity to the oft told tale that makes it
accessible to the modern angst in a very interesting way. How
else could we make the story really modern, but to bring a
certain "political correctness" to the three-fold reincarnation.
A brilliant stroke! Yet not an orthodox one.
The possiblity that we reincarnate in very unexpected or untaught
ways must have caught Bertolucci's imagination for I believe the
film's message goes beyone symbolism to a real outsider's (I
presume) that the queen of Egypt doesn't keep reincarnating in
one person out a time, but is spread through the genes and the
history of the whole human race including every peasant. Maybe
this is the only way moderns can begin to approach the depth of
the reincarnation dogma.
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