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  •  READER COMMENTS

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

    Subject: Re: the symbolic
    Date: Aug 1, 2005
    Sender: shelleyPrevious | Next

    thank you--that does clarify things immensely

    thoughts, books etc. you might suggest to further enlighten one on buddhism?

    Previous: the symbolic | Next: Re: the symbolic

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



    Response to this comment:
    the symbolic

    The animals in the movie represent aspects of the human mind, and so the dog is the naive faithfulness of a young child, the rooster is the cocky curiosity of a young man, the cat is the ferocity and courage of a grown up man, and the snake is the wisdom of the enlightened person.

    The text that the old master paints on the floor of the temple is the heart sutra ('form is emptiness and emptiness is form'), and the act of painting it with the tail of the cat symbolises the taming of the tiger just as the man wild with anger is being tamed inside the temple.

    The old master doesnt 'commit suicide' but simply floats away into enlightenment, discarding the old frail body on the way. The person who before me commented that such things dont happen in buddhism must be completely ignorant of buddhism's history, and especially of the symbolism of the chan/zen sect which dominates in south korea and japan. Same goes for the old master beating the man when he painted the character for 'shut' on his eyes, ears and mouth - the young man attempted to shut himself from the world with his anger eating him from inside - and that was the real suicide attempt! The old man beat him for that, and later tamed and healed the anger which as the buddha teaches is the all consuming fire of attachment.

    Also the old master was not practicing 'magic', but simply using his enormous chi to pull the boat. It is correct that the Buddha emphasised the futility of magic and showmanship of special powers, yet he never rejected the existence of such powers, his point was that these powers are a side effect of spiritual attainment and not the goal of it! And as you can see the master uses his chi not to showcase his powers but to subtly alter the perception of others (as with throwing the stone at the can at which the policemen were shooting)...and from time to time to help himself with the boat.

    Also it is not true that Buddhists dont pray - every Buddhist prays, even more so the Amitabha Buddha sect which is dominant in Japan. The act of prayer though does not serve the role of catholic prayer for example, but is rather the equivalent of paying respect , or making a mandhala of one's heart...

    Finally, the statue that Kim Ki Duk carries all the way to the top of the mountain is that of Kuan Yin, the Boddhisatwa of Eternal Compassion. While carrying it to the top and pulling the stone, the mature monk learns the lesson of compassion for others and leaves the stone burdening his heart at the feet of Kuan Yin.

    I hope this clarifies some parts of themovie.






    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