Buddhism and American Cinema by John Whalen-Bridge

By John Whalen-Bridge

Discusses either depictions of Buddhism in movie and Buddhist takes on quite a few films.

In 1989, a similar yr the Dalai Lama used to be presented the Nobel Peace Prize, a decade-long growth of flicks devoted to Buddhist humans, historical past, and tradition all started. delivering the 1st scholarly therapy of Buddhism and cinema, the editors propose that there are varieties of Buddhist movie: those who are approximately Buddhists and those who are usually not. Focusing on modern American choices, the individuals expand a two-pronged strategy, discussing how Buddhism has been captured by means of administrators and featuring Buddhist-oriented reviews of the worlds represented in motion pictures that might look to haven't any reference to Buddhism. motion pictures mentioned diversity from these set in Tibet, resembling Kundun and Lost Horizon, to these set good open air of any Buddhist milieu, similar to Groundhog Day and The Matrix. The participants clarify the Buddhist theoretical strategies that emerge in those works, together with karma, the bardo, and reincarnation, and view them in terms of interpretive options that come with feminism, postcolonialism, and contemplative mental ways

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Killmeier and Kwok 265–66) Such criticism ironically identified Hayslip with the Viet Kieu, who despised her for her cooperation with Communist Vietnamese when seeking bureaucratic help in facilitating her first visit home in 1986. This was a time when the United States still enforced a trade embargo against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Killmeier and Kwok’s conclusion is particularly inappropriate for the historical context of the memoir. When author Le Ly Hayslip returned to Vietnam in 1986, Ho Chi Minh (or “Bac Ho,” Uncle Ho), Karl Marx, and Chairman Mao were still the ideological mainstays of a Vietnamese Communist party that only in that year passed the policy of đổi mới (renewal/renovation) that allowed for a modest acceptance of capitalism.

However, one should bear in mind the history behind this (mis)translation. I. Pyysiäinen explains that the Westerners that first came into contact with Buddhism, guided by their Christian background, identified the Buddha and the buddhas as god(s). ” (Pyysiäinen 149) In her memoirs, Le Ly Hayslip herself uses the word “God,” and Stone’s screenplay follows her lead. The difficulty is also based on the nature of translation: It is unknown what term Hayslip would have used had she written her memoir in her native Vietnamese, and for a purely Vietnamese audience, instead of in English.

Although the director is by no means American, the films just mentioned must invariably be discussed together for reasons that become clear in the essays. “Reincarnation” can indicate a one-to-one correspondence between the person who died and the person who is born into a new life, but Buddhism denies that there is an immutable soul that is transferred from body to body. Often, the term “rebirth” is used to signify a continuity between lives that is not understood as the repetition of the same personality or soul within a new body.

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