Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dhmma lesson from the movie "Inception"

I watched this movie about 3 weeks ago (for those who don't know what this movie is about, please see here). At that time, I felt that there are many Dhamma lesson in the movie that I can reflect upon it. It wasn't until this afternoon that my thoughts came together and I am flooded with many lessons based on this movie.

Interesting that you need to give time and the right opportunity for a thoughts / anything to come into fruition. Looks like a seed was planted after I saw the movie and while it is being nurture by time and external input, the seed is waiting for the right moment to come into being. This itself is also a Dhamma experience.

My Dhamma experience based on the movie "Inception"

Inception: Dom Cobb (acted by Leonardo DiCaprio) was betrayed by one of his teammate, after which he gather his team before the start of his new mission.
Tathiya: It takes a long time to know a person, do not assume that you will understand a person fully. We are inter-dependent on others and each person can complement the strength and weakness of others.

Inception: An idea (seed) can be planted by others or by oneself. The only way to change a deeply held belief is for the person to convince him/her self. Others can only lead them along a path.
Tathiya: We are exposed to idea and knowledge everyday, so we have to guard our mind very carefully as small seeds planted either by ourselves or others, once allow to grow will come into effect. While the Buddha can show us the way (plant seed), in order for us to truly believe it, we need to convince ourselves.

Inception: Dom Cobb showed Ariadne that she can create anything in the dream. She leave the team for a while but returned later due to her attachment to the ability for creation in the dream state.
Tathiya: Well, we all want to be God and create thing but since we cannot do so in the real world, we do it in our mind / dream. We create thoughts about how something / someone should be in our head and once those things / person does not meet our expectation, our internal world come crashing down.

Inception: To change a deeply held belief, the inception team need to go down to the deepest level of the target's belief system.
Tathiya: Each level in our mind will have a different belief system, to change a belief we have to search each level to see if changes can be made at a particular level, if not we need to go deeper so that any changes or planting of seed can have lasting effect.

Inception: Dom Cobb "trap" his memories of his wife at the deepest level of his mind. Also his wife will appear at the wrong time to ruin his plan.
Tathiya: Holding onto past memories only brings suffering, we must learn to let go; we can only block out so much negativity, there will be opportunity for those negative feeling / thinking to surface at the wrong time to ruin us unless we root it out at the deepest level, we must learn to let go.

Inception: For the team to "escape" a level, they will need an external event to shock them out of their dream state.
Tathiya: My Dhamma experience came from this. I was having some negative thoughts when an old friend suddenly called out to me, I was literally shock out of my negative thinking. It is like the Zen story of throwing a rock into a bamboo forest and hearing the sound which break the thoughts process of the listener and encourage them to come back to the moment. Thus the lesson is, when we are corner by thoughts, we need an external event / we be aware of it in order to break the cycle.

Inception: Dom Cobb planting of a seed in his wife valve that suggest that in order to be alive, she has to die in her dream world. Never did he thought that this seed was carried forward to the real world and this was what caused his wife to commit suicide in the real world.
Tathiya: Cause will have effect, even a gesture did with kind intention may not always turn out fine. Thus we have to be very careful with our thoughts, speech and action.

Inception: At the end of the movie, the spinning top does not give an indication of whether Dom Cobb is back in reality or still in a dream state.
Tathiya: Life should be live in reality but some people cannot distinguish between what is real and what is a dream. As reality can be painful, there are some people like Dom Cobb and wife who decided to escape into the dream state to avoid facing the truth.

Inception: Once you dies in your dream, you will stay in limbo for an indefinite amount of time. Dom Cobb at the end of the movie save Saito from limbo. We also saw what sort of dreams Saito have.
Tathiya: It is like a person who cannot escape from thinking about his past or are fantasied by his "idea" world / state, like a mad person who are stuck in his way of thinking. They stay in limbo of their thoughts unless they / someone else come and bring them out. And guess what......for us Buddhist it is the Buddha who show us the way but it is ourselves and our experience that will truly liberate us from Samsara.

Well, those are all my Dhamma experiences from the movie. I hope that you will benefit and think about it and if you have not watch the movie, what are you waiting for?