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  •  READER COMMENTS

    Reader comments on Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter ... and Spring

    Subject: Re: burning oneself alive
    Date: Jul 26, 2004
    Sender: Tony FergusonPrevious | Next

    I wonder if the Old Monk does actually burn himself alive. Since he is such an insightful monk, perhaps he knows he is about to die naturally or is ready to pass naturally into nirvana and organises the cremation of his own body in the sinking boat to take place immediately after he has passed away. After all, there is nobody else to do it, and as others have commented he does not want to leave his rotting corpse and skeleton in the monastery which would upset anyone who might come later.
    Another significant detail is the appearance of the snake swimming away from the burning boat to the monastery where it takes up residence, perhaps as a guardian spirit. We see it hibernating inside in a corner next to the successor monk's sleeping place in the Winter sequence. He knows it's there and does not disturb it.

    Previous: Re: burning oneself alive | Next: Re: burning oneself alive

    Respond to this message | Return to original article: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter ... and Spring



    Response to this comment:
    Re: burning oneself alive

    Thank you for taking the time to explain some of the Buddhist/symbolic elements behind the Old Monk's self-immolation. It helped me to better understand both the scene itself and how it fit into the film as a whole. I loved the film and felt a bit frustrated that I don't have the cultural context to appreciate it fully, so I'm grateful for your filling in a little of that context for western viewers.






    Comment index:

  • burning oneself alive   from diane greene, May 19, 2004
  • Re: burning oneself alive   from Cheong YongTai, Jun 26, 2004
  • Re: burning oneself alive   from Nancy, Jun 27, 2004
  • » Re: burning oneself alive «   from Tony Ferguson, Jul 26, 2004
  • Re: burning oneself alive   from cinthya, Apr 21, 2009
  • Re: burning oneself alive   from Vil Blekaitis, Jul 9, 2004
  • Symbolism   from Gail, Jan 17, 2005
  • Spring, Summer, Fall...   from , Jun 22, 2004
  • Re: Spring, Summer, Fall...   from dottie cohen, Jul 5, 2004
  • Re: Spring, Summer, Fall...   from Loca Salmagundi, Jul 22, 2004
  • Re: Spring, Summer, Fall...   from Tony, Jul 26, 2004
  • Re: woman's hidden face   from Bill, Mar 7, 2005
  • Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring   from D McClain, Jul 12, 2004
  • spring, summer, fall, winter...spring   from Koji Takakuwa, Nov 29, 2004
  • spring, summer, fall, winter...spring   from Koji Takakuwa, Dec 8, 2004
  • Addendum to previous commentary   from Koji Takakuwa, Dec 15, 2004
  • my thoughts.   from Joey, Feb 22, 2005
  • Sutra translation   from Bill, Mar 7, 2005
  • the second statue   from mary, May 9, 2005
  • Re: the second statue   from michael, May 16, 2005
  • Re: the second statue   from John L, Sep 19, 2005
  • the symbolic   from roh jin, Jul 25, 2005
  • Re: the symbolic   from shelley, Aug 1, 2005
  • Re: the symbolic   from roh jin, Aug 2, 2005
  • all   from Erik, Aug 11, 2005
  • Re: the symbolic   from sean lee, Jan 16, 2008
  • burning oneself alive   from diane greene, May 19, 2004
  • Re: burning oneself alive   from Cheong YongTai, Jun 26, 2004
  • Re: burning oneself alive   from Nancy, Jun 27, 2004
  • » Re: burning oneself alive «   from Tony Ferguson, Jul 26, 2004
  • Re: burning oneself alive   from cinthya, Apr 21, 2009
  • Re: burning oneself alive   from Vil Blekaitis, Jul 9, 2004
  • Symbolism   from Gail, Jan 17, 2005
  • Spring, Summer, Fall...   from , Jun 22, 2004
  • Re: Spring, Summer, Fall...   from dottie cohen, Jul 5, 2004
  • Re: Spring, Summer, Fall...   from Loca Salmagundi, Jul 22, 2004
  • Re: Spring, Summer, Fall...   from Tony, Jul 26, 2004
  • Re: woman's hidden face   from Bill, Mar 7, 2005
  • Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring   from D McClain, Jul 12, 2004
  • spring, summer, fall, winter...spring   from Koji Takakuwa, Nov 29, 2004
  • spring, summer, fall, winter...spring   from Koji Takakuwa, Dec 8, 2004
  • Addendum to previous commentary   from Koji Takakuwa, Dec 15, 2004
  • my thoughts.   from Joey, Feb 22, 2005
  • Sutra translation   from Bill, Mar 7, 2005
  • the second statue   from mary, May 9, 2005
  • Re: the second statue   from michael, May 16, 2005
  • Re: the second statue   from John L, Sep 19, 2005
  • the symbolic   from roh jin, Jul 25, 2005
  • Re: the symbolic   from shelley, Aug 1, 2005
  • Re: the symbolic   from roh jin, Aug 2, 2005
  • all   from Erik, Aug 11, 2005
  • Re: the symbolic   from sean lee, Jan 16, 2008