Sunday, September 08, 2002

About "About A Boy"

It is highly suggestive in the movie, that life becomes hollow and meaningless if individuals were to live like islands, like Will Freeman (what a name!) (played by Hugh Grant), disconnected from each other. The movie begins with him disagreeing with John Donne's quote that "No man is an island.", saying that some men are islands, only needing to visit the mainland once in a while- in his case, for socialising and shopping! Will thought he was a happy swinging bachelor, till he realised his spiritual emptiness from not relating deeply to others, from living a shallow self-indulgent life that did not extend his worldly happiness to others. Towards the end of the show, he begins to realise the meaning of selfless love through friendship with a boy.

How does the Dharma relate to this? "Meaning" is derived- from something or someone. As everything is interdependent, nothing means anything in itself, by itself. Compassion, for example, has no meaning when there are no beings to help, just as there is no true meaningfulness to Wisdom when it is not utilised or applied beyond itself. In fact, Wisdom in action is Compassion, and Compassion is the guide principle of Wisdom. With either out of the picture, either loses its meaning.

Incidentally, the Buddha uttered the following on living like islands.

"Be ye islands unto yourselves,
be ye a refuge to yourselves!
Take no other refuge!
The Dharma be your island,
the Dharma be your refuge!
Take no other refuge."

-Mahaparinibbana Sutta

This is the only right way to live like islands!
Living with the Dharma, Compassion and Wisdom will be there!

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