Movie-Dharma : A Mighty Brute or a "Bruce Almighty"?
Another "Enlightenment thru Entertainment" Dharma-Inspired Movie Review :A Mighty Brute or a "Bruce Almighty"?"Bruce Almighty" is about a guy (played by Jim Carrey) who complains about "God" (played by Morgan Freeman), who was thus given almighty powers by him, to realise how difficult it is to run the world if he were to do it at his own selfish whims and fancies. This comedy is not preachy in the sense of trying to impart the message that there is a "God" (or not). On the contrary, it strongly drives home the message, that we are almighty - in the sense that we control our personal destiny and happiness. It speaks not of "believe in him", but rather, of "believe in yourself." In this way, we are the "Gods" of our lives - you can be "You Almighty." A message of self-reliance, the film illustrates how ultimately, we are the ones who can truly answer our prayers, how our best spiritual mentors can only guide us.The moral of the story is compatible with Buddhist teachings, which do not subscribe to the belief in the existence of an almighty creator "God". In Buddhism, we are the creators of our personal lives and thus our worlds. In fact, we continually, with every single motivation and action, create and re-create our worlds, morphing our present and future lives at will - though results can range from being instantaneous to taking some time. Expanding this truth, it is us collectively who create our family, nation, and world at large. In short, everyone (re)creates oneself, and together, everyone (re)creates everything we experience collectively.
In the show, Bruce desperately yearns for a miracle to turn his life around. He realises that instead of waiting for a miracle, he should be the miracle - he should make it happen. This reminds us of the late great Mahatma Ghandi's advice, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." In Buddhism, the best miracle is not a physical one - for instance, being able to walk on water (which Bruce did!) or to bend spoons; the best miracle is the mental transformation of one's greed into generosity, hatred into compassion, and delusion into wisdom.
Thus, Bruce created his own miracle when he realised the wisdom of "self-vation" (self-salvation) by changing his attitude to life. He learns that true love is wanting the one(s) you love to be happy; not wanting the one(s) you love to be with you, such that you will be happy. It was this realisation of unconditional love that won his love back. Yes, true selfless love, or universal compassion, together with complete wisdom, are the greatest miracles we can realise. They are the real miracles that will transform the world into a better place. You have the power!
- Shen Shi'an (Written 13/06/2003, Revised 06/09/2007)