179Dharma Movie Review: Finding Nemo
- Jul 4, 2003
Finding NemoFinding Nemo
Have you the courage to recognize
Have you the faith to look
In the wilderness of the endless ocean
With no end in sight...
In pursuit of an aimless direction
Can you find?
Against the strong currents, going in circles
Will you persist?
Signs are pointing
Guides are present
Are you listening
Are you looking
Will you find Nemo
Thoughts on the movie, Finding Nemo:
The story is about a clown fish Marlin, who is overly protective of his only surviving son, Nemo, when he lost his wife and all of his other hundreds of babies during an attack. It is a journey of struggles and discovering one-self in the pursuit of the search for the lost Nemo.
Witty, warm-hearted and beautifully scripted. Finding Nemo, by Pixar, shows the profoundity of the buddha-dharma in our very ignorant lives for our reflection today. It sets out basic human emotions & struggles that we are all so familiar with in our everyday lives but yet fail to recognize and see, or sometimes afraid to face up to.
How often can we see a Marlin (Nemos father) in us and the extent of a Marlin-type situation. We have countless times lost precious jewels, people we love, careers, dreams (on a spiritual level, we have actually lost faith, courage, will, determination, trust, etc), and begin to crumble under delusion and ignorance, leading us to grander delusion and into a whirlpool of sufferings; samsara.
On the flipside, when Marlin saw sufferings (pains, worries and fears), experienced sufferings and realized sufferings (actualization of losing Nemo), he chose, like the rare brave ones, to search for a relief of this suffering.
In the search process, we come face to face with our obstacles, and along the way, when arriving at a brick wall, we are given help, encouragement and shown the path (through the innocent and unassuming Dory character in the movie), but how often do we recognize it and pluck up the faith and courage to climb onto the raft to cross the other shore.
Perseverance, faith, courage are all necessary ingredients for us to patiently build a sturdy & strong raft to help us cross the shore to relieve us of our sufferings. But before we do that, we have to muster up that little bit of courage to face up to our fears, to recognize them as fears and hindrances, to look at them, to turn them around and see them as opportunities instead of a burden weighing us down.
Here are two examples of the struggles from a dharmic viewpoint:
1. In being overly protective (due to his past experience of losing his wife and all of his other babies), Marlin pushed Nemo to dare against his fathers advice and was caught out in the open sea by human divers. Here, we can see how we also cling on too tightly to our beliefs, wants, ideas, and run the risk of being caught in them as we cannot see/understand other views, and when we fall or are caught questioning those beliefs, we fall very hard and deep, like Marlin, who was desolated after losing Nemo.
There was also a twist. In spite of desolation, Marlin found and garnered the great courage to look for his son, Nemo, in the entire ocean, knowing how big the ocean is with all its unknown mysteries and obstacles beyond. It teaches us the First Noble Truth; there is suffering. Marlin completely understood dukkha when (1) there is knowledge of suffering (seeing/acknowledging suffering), (2) there is understanding of suffering (losing Nemo and embracing/feeling the lost) and (3) there is experience/realization of suffering. Most people are caught in the 1st and rarely in the 2nd stage where they know there is suffering (akin to bookish knowledge) but, are either afraid to tread beyond that or are covering up the hidden feelings (hence feeling numb or unable to recognize those painful raw emotions), leaving them not completely understanding the First Noble Truth.
Only when we are able to fully comprehend the nature of suffering (the First Noble Truth) are we then able to find the courage to look for a way out. When we have not realized the First Noble Truth in its entirety, we will not be able to completely understand why we want to get out of samsara as we have not seen the full clear picture.
When there is clarity, we can understand and see the way.
2. Dory, who tagged along on the search quest with Marlin, is a delightful fish who has short term memory loss. She has shown us how she perceived and dealt with each new situation to treat each new circumstance like brand new, without past conditionings/attachments (by default because of her very short term memory loss). With this refreshing attitude to take the world by storm, she bravely faced up to very single situation with courage, determination, and innocent and childlike witty ideas like it was her first experience (in many scenes: going into the deep end of the ocean to catch the falling scuba mask, trying to mimic the whale-talk, playing and jumping on the jellyfishes, etc) . It is when Marlin starts to think of past experiences (past conditioning & karma from undetachment), gets involved in more thinking, that fears and doubts in his/Dorys abilities of overcoming the hurdles starts to crop up.
Upon reflection, how many times do we fail to recognize the overloaded baggage that we carry around everywhere we go, thus causing burden, doubts, fears in our own lives and also hindrances to our spiritual practice. How often do we hear our teachers and guides patiently reminding us before the start of our meditation practices to treat each sitting as if it were our first sitting and to leave all thoughts, conditions, other teachings aside during that sitting, and just be in the moment freely.
Can we walk through life in this simple way with a new fresh breath at every turn and corner?
The movie is lined with many fine examples of dharma reflections and inspirations of bravery, faith, courage and trust. In the end, which one are you? Will you contemplate on whom are you trying to emulate? Or which one inspires you to take your present lives by the horns, and start re-living? Dory or Marlin? Or will you prefer to walk away like nothing happened
From: "lovingkd" <lovingkd@...>