This movie reveals many of the key concepts of Buddhism. They make mention of the Four Noble Truths, the Buddhist belief that nothing is permanent, and the fact that in Buddhism, nobody is above being taught. Even though Kundun was seen as a spirit, he was still raised and taught by teachers. He wasn't all-knowing. Also, a ritual in the Buddhist religion that has particularly interested me this semester is that of sand mandalas. In Kundun, a giant sand mandala was constructed. When Kundun's father was chopped up, it was done as a sky burial, a common ritual. The movie relates to how the world religions are seen as holding progress of the world back. The Chinese leader thought that Buddhism was a plague on the people of Tibet and needed to be removed from the government of the country. The people of the world have become more intelligent and think that religion is outdated with no place in a modern society. As we become more advanced we have lost focus on the importance of the teachings that all religions have passed down through the generations. We now put our faith and trust in finding our own answers to the problems we face. The Chinese in the film were only concerned with expanding the empire and becoming the dominant country in the region. The Chinese leader felt that Buddhism was in the way of his conquest for power and the communist rule that he inspired.
This suffers from the typical biopic problems of having to fit too much in. The acting is strangely wooden in parts. Beautifully shot and scored though.
The Dalai Lama is a very important Buddhist monk in the country of Tibet and is seen as a very important religious leader all of the world. The film touches on quite a few Buddhist teachings. In the film you will see young Kundun being taught the basic teachings of Buddhism. For instance, young Kundun was being asked to recite the three jewels, which are the three things that Buddhists take refuge in, and look toward for guidance. "The daily observance of formally taking refuge in these "three jewels"-the Buddha, the dharma, and the sangha-is regarded by many as being the closest thing to a Buddhist "creed" and is regarded as the definitive act that makes someone a "Buddhist. (Brodd, pg. 180)" The Dalai Lama is a very important religious leader in the sense that he represents ass Buddhists, their teachings, and their way of life, and is seen in such a way because the Dalai Lama is believed to be the Buddha of Compassion. In the opening of the film, you see colorful art, which turns out to be sand, which is known as a mandala. "While mandalas are used in Hinduism, where they also function as cosmological diagrams used for meditation, some Buddhists utilize them in unique ways. (Brodd, pg. 189)." Although the Dalai Lama is not in his hoe country of Tibet, he continues to represent the nation of Tibet and its people and the prime example of compassion.
Brodd, Jeffrey, Layne Little, Bradley Nystrom, Robert Platzner, Richard Shek, and Erin Stiles.
"Buddhism." Invitation to World Religions. New York, NY: Oxford UP, 2013. 143-209. Print.