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The movie Kundun directed by Martin Scorcese portrays the struggle the
Tibetans face in their everyday lives and their religion. This movie depicts the importance of the Dalai Lama to the Tibetans. The Tibetans refer to The Dalai Lama as "Kundun" meaning simply "The Presence." This movie explained many significant aspects of the Tibetan's culture, struggle, and religion through Dalai Lama's point of view.
Tibet has long been known as the Forbidden Land because of its isolation. There are approximately four million Tibetans; they are a distinctive and separate race and not Chinese. Their language bears no relation to those of India or China, although the
Tibetan script has its origin in India. The religious tradition in this movie taught me a lot
about the Tibetans and their appreciation of their religion.
The Tibetans in this movie seem to be a kind, honest, open and cheerful people
who are at the same time hardy, tough self-reliant and fiercely independent. Their
devotion to their Buddhist religion pervades their every thought and action. Kundun
depicts their reverence and deep affection for His Holiness The Dalai Lama. The movie
starts off at the time when the thirteenth Dalai Lama had died. It is extremely important
for the Tibetan Buddhists to find the next incarnated soul of the Buddha of Compassion.
Therefore, the Tibetan government's task was to search for and discover a child in
whom The Buddha would incarnate. Rinpoche was sent out to do the search.
The Fourteenth Dalai Lama was discovered four years after the thirteenth had
died due to several significant reasons. His birth was a unique one. During his birth
black crows had appeared. Also, his mother noticed something special about him; he
was born a quiet baby without crying. From the start, the little boy seemed to know that
he was special. His love and compassion for living things were portrayed in this movie.
For instance, the little boy had hid a beetle and protected it from danger. His actions
were of importance to the Rinpoche. He was wearing a rosary that had belonged to the
thirteenth Dalai Lama, and the little boy recognized it and demanded that it be given to
him. The little boy seemed very wise and understood why the Rinpoche was there. The
little boy was given a series of tests which included items that had belonged to the
thirteenth Dalai Lama, such as eyeglasses, a walking stick and a bell; he had passed the
tests. They were convinced that the reincarnation had been found.
In the begging of Dalai Lama's discovery he seemed awkward and uncomfortable
with the situation. Several times he wanted his mother. He seemed scared and unhappy
in a way while living in the monastery. The only thing that brought him happiness was
his love for nature and animals. He wanted to protect the sheep and cows. Another
central point of Buddhism is that all people need to have a teacher because people cannot
simply enlighten themselves. One of the more interesting facets of the movie is that not
even Kundun is beyond criticism. There were times when his teachers correct his
thinking on key points. This movie signifies the importance of some of the basic
teachings of Buddhism, such as the Four Noble Truths, the Dharma of Impermanence,
and the awakening of Compassion. The Dalai Lama is taught and urged to learn the
Names mentioned in this term paper
Dalai Lama, Kundun, Martin Scorcese,
Organizations mentioned in this paper
Tibetans, Tibetan government,
Movie referenced in this term paper
Locations talked about in this report
Keywords referenced in this report
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