The Image of Indigenous Religions in "Little Buddha" example

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The Image of Indigenous Religions in "Little Buddha"

Bertolucci's "Little Buddha" tells a story about a group of Buddhist monks looking all around the world for children that may be candidates for what is considered to be the reincarnation of their deceased teacher. Furthermore, this film is largely devoted to a vividly described fable of Siddhartha Gautama, the historical founder of Buddhism, and the legends describing his spiritual journey to the enlightenment. What is also addressed in the plot is a theme of indigenous religions and “Little Buddha” does a great job portraying native peoples as well as demonstrating certain key patterns that appear in their teachings.

Indigenous religions are beliefs that are established among the native inhabitants of a particular geographical area. The practices and traditions of indigenous religious existed long before the introduction of the major world religions around the world. A lot of them shared some views, concepts, and teachings, but some had major differences due to the fact that they had developed separately from one another. The film “Little Buddha” shows some traditions of real practices by indigenous tribes as well as determines some spiritual beliefs that occur in their teachings. There are numerous variations of such beliefs. This paper, however, will concentrate on three of the broadest principles, which apply to almost all indigenous cultures. These principles include interaction with nature and worshiping of animals, the idea of sacred places and respect for origins, different indigenous traditions and rituals (Indigenous Religions. Chapter Summary).

Most of the indigenous religions are similar in their close connection to nature and animals (Indigenous Religions. Chapter Summary. Para. 2). In the process of depicting the story of Siddhartha’s journey in search of enlightenment Bernardo Bertolucci's “Little Buddha” shows its viewers the images of native peoples that the prince meets along the way. Their traditions and values are united in the idea of worshiping nature and animals and looking to them for guidance. We see ascetics honoring the powers of nature in the moment when a tree saw Siddhartha’s compassion towards one of the natives and bowed down in his honor (Little Buddha, 1993, 01:02:30-01:02:50). The moment when cobra protected the prince at the time of his meditation was considered by native inhabitants as a sign and guidance to follow Siddhartha and his journey to the enlightenment (Little Buddha, 1993, 01:03:30-01:04:54). Also, one cannot forget the mysterious dream about baby elephant Siddhartha’s mother had just before she conceived her child (Little Buddha, 1993, 00:19:40-00:20:15). She perceived her vision as a sign and later found out about the great destiny that was prepared for her son. Moreover, there is an unusual scene in the film when Siddhartha discovers a middle way, a path of balance, and turns to a river with a question of whether he will eventually reach the enlightenment. The sudden inexplicable life force in the stream of the river answers his question, providing him with the confidence regarding the chosen path (Little Buddha, 1993, 01:14:50-01:15:25). The idea that life is …

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