Thesis Statement: Throughout thejourney of intercommunication and maturity in life, both stories highlight theimportance of embracing impermanence and the realities of life rather thanbecoming a victim of our thoughts and allowing our perceived reality to controlour actions. Impermanenceor “Anicca” is stated as one of the three marks of existence in Buddhistbeliefs. It is the belief that allthings are subject to continuous change in life. Life is like the flow of a river, changingcontinually day after day. Experiencesmay feel as though they are permanent at a given moment, but as time passes ittoo shall change. This theory of changethroughout one’s life is a focus in Buddhist beliefs. By improving our awareness and realizing thatall aspects of life are subject to change at some point or another, we to canallow ourselves to find unity in our thoughts and become “enlightened” withreality.
After reading thestory of Siddhartha and watching the film “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter andSpring”, I began to reflect and notice a common theme among the two. The Buddhist monk and his protégé relatehighly to Siddhartha and the ferryman. The stories compare in that they both express the context of lifeoccurring in cycles, and feeling as though moments they are experiencing arerepeating themselves from past time. When Siddhartha looks out in the river and sees the reflection of hisfather’s face, he finds himself feeling the same pain and frustration that hisfather once felt when he progressed in life and left his father. He understands this feeling afterexperiencing the departure of his own son.
In comparison to the story of “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring”,the film takes you on a quest with the old monk and his child monk throughout thechild’s growth through life. As I beganreading Siddartha, I got the impression that his son would live in similarexistence to his father. Much like howin Jim Ki-Duk’s film, where I recognized the similarities between the fathermonk and protégé son, and how that child would live a similar life path to hisfather. As you progress further intoboth stories, the unified message between both of them lies in the fact ofemotional attachment. In the film, thefather monk states “Lust awakens the desire to possess. And that awakensthe intent to murder.
” When theyoung monk allowed the possession of the woman in his life to control him, itcaused him to go down the wrong path which eventually led to murder. Much likewith Siddartha, when his son had left him he had lost his sense of hope and wasflooded with the feeling of something missing in life. The context of thetwo stories relate in that they both address what happens when we allow ourmind to be controlled by love: we tend to be blinded to reality which in turncauses us to feel a sense of suffering and pain. As our desire for love continues to grow, itbegins to create urgency among us which causes us to continually act in waysthat are impractical to our normal self and end up causing more harm thangood.
When the love of the young monk’slife left him for another man, he allowed his lust to possess him, similar toSiddaratha allowing the departure of his son to possess him. As the older monk stated in the movie,”sometimes we have to let go of the things we like. What you like, others will like aswell.
” Throughout the movie, the youngmonk goes through many cycles in his growth to manhood. From a young age he experiencedinnocence, and as he got older he experienced love and pain, and in the end heexperienced nirvana. As stated byHerman Hesse in Siddartha, “I will no longer mutilate and destroy myself inorder to find a secret behind the ruins.” For Siddartha to get past his suffering and pain, he realized he must nolonger destroy himself in search of happiness. Eventually, Siddartha was able to have a revelation among his thoughtswhich were brought to him by thinking less and listening more.
When Siddhartha listened intently to thesounds of the river and ignored the sorrow, he was able to create unity and”om” among his thoughts, and he defined this “om” as perfection. This feelingof “om” came from his ability to no longer be a victim of his own thoughts andinstead realize that impermanence in one’s life is inevitable. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes us makingmistakes in life in order to realize this inevitability. This film displayed the growth andprogression of the monk from a young age to a more mature age; much like theanimals and the scenery around the monk as the seasons change, so does hehimself. Along with the years ofmaturity came knowledge, which eventually led to the realization ofimpermanence. In comparison, Siddhartha endured suffering and sorrow from thedeparture of his son, but after sitting under the Bodhi tree looking out intothe water and becoming one with the nature around him, he was able toexperience a moment of “enlightenment”.
This feeling eventually led to the realization that “When someoneseeks…then it easily happens that his eyes see only the thing that he seeks,and he is able to find nothing, to take in nothing.” He further explains this “seeking” movementin that it results in only seeking and obsessing over one goal. “Seeking means: having a goal. But findingmeans: being free, being open, having no goal.” When you allow yourself to be free mentally and accept the idea ofimpermanence in reality around you, you in turn allow yourself to experiencesuffering and possess the mindset to overcome that suffering.In conclusion,everything we are in search of having in life and avoid in life is in the formof attachment one way or another. When something happens to that person orthing we think so highly of in life, we often feel lost and allow our thoughtsto consume our actions in an irrational manner.
“One must find the source within one’s own Self, one must possess it.Everything else was seeking — a detour, an error.” – Herman Hesse. Impermanence is reality, and without being intune with reality we will too become a victim of not only our own negativethoughts but our actions that follow those thoughts.
Although it may take negative experiences inorder to make substantial changes, those experiences are part of our maturityin life. Every feeling that we have,every relationship we experience, and every life event we come across issubject to change at one point or another. Through maturity and learning from our experiences, we can embrace theprinciples of Buddhism by seeing peace and harmony in the world around us. When we acknowledge reality for what itreally is rather than for what we portray it to be, and with embracing the ideathat nothing in life is permanent, we too can overcome any suffering and painthat is present in our lives, and further achieve the happiness in which wedeserve.