Buddha's Lost Children (2006)
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The film is a linear chronicle of events that happened over one year. The children are "lost" because they lost their parents, or simply because of their parents are too poor to raise them. In the beginning of the film, we see a mother giving up her son because she cannot afford to raise all her kids. She entrusts her son to Kruh Bah, a monk dedicated to changing the lives of others. In his words, he is a medium to pass on knowledge to children. Not only does he teach the teachings of Buddha, but also very basic things such as the importance of brushing teeth every day. The children also get to learn how to handle animals, and how to do so with respect.
The film is full of love and care. Even after some youngsters tries to pick a fight (using alarmingly long harvest knives) with him, he forgives and offers them jobs for a month, so that he gets to teach these youngsters what life is about.
I think this documentary is inspirational. It portrays how life is like when every day is a struggle for survival. It tells me how life is in other parts of the world, where people are not as materialistic. It is a part of the world and a culture which I am unlikely to be able to experience first hand. Though the film is a bit slow, it is worth the watch!
He's a former Thai box champion. And has a sense of humor to boot. He's clearly seen and experienced life in all its complexities. This tends to make him very human and accessible. Which is also evident during the journeys he and the novices make from village to village, where the locals can do with some positive influences. Beyond all else, the straightforward and tough love with which the monk treats these boys has clearly reaped its rewards. And is a joy for the viewer to behold.
A death of his close friend followed by a vivid dream made him to be a monk and spread knowledge and experience with the ones who demands it. The film shows how children lost in poor family lives and who are living with no purpose met an opportunity to develop and experience a warm, inner and outer warm of the mind and body.
«Buddha's Lost Children» teaches people to good things. Here a monk and the children make a good to their environment: rebuild a temple, share with a knowledge to improve people, help materially to poor families. Also, close link between humans and people is represented through respect to horses.
This movie teaches to appreciate everything we have now. A monk's influence to the relationships between the children, their perceptions of life and love let every viewer to rethink about these things. Love is defined from the another side: tough love makes us even stronger to overpower weakness. Besides, appreciation of the current condition is also one of the teaching of the film because it emphasizes harsh and poor conditions of hill tribe people.
«Buddha's Lost Children» shares with not only monk's lives, but also teaches us that every difficulty is another opportunity to make a good. The film is definitely must watch, especially for families with children.
Plot: "Buddha's lost children" is a story of a wandering monk Khru Bah and his disciples traveling along the borders of Thailand aiming to rebuild a temple 100 kilometres away. The borders on the road are full of poor villages, residents of which have problems with drug addiction. A former Thai boxer Khru Bah, who found his mission in monkhood aims to help such villagers to deal with their problems. His altruism is not limited to the villagers, since he also manages to spiritually educate and bring hope to orphans and children from poor families - his disciples for new life. This spellbinding narrative about a daily life of the monk and his small community during a year-long adventure, is definitely worth dedicating time to.
Review: The Dutch director Mark Verkerk rather than capturing a documentary about the Buddhism itself, focused on its narrow aspect - life of a small representative part of Buddhist sangha residing in the area of Golden Triangle in Thailand. It is worth noting that the director and his crew observed their daily activities of Khru Bah and his followers throughout a year and succeeded in portray their life in a realistic way.
The documentary focuses on three young disciples of Khru Bah, each with a different story of becoming a monk. Suk was a muted child with sad eyes, who finally became exemplary for his peers and who plans to pursue monkhood in the future. Pan Saen joined Khru Bah, since his mother had no means to feed him for, but grew into a stronger child with a good concentration. Boontam, the 4-year old who had problems with his legs and barely could walk, became the youngest member of Kru Bah's community and for his great heart and happy attitudes was ascribed traits of the potential Buddha by his teacher. All of these stories are different in certain ways, but what unites them is that they all grew into stronger personalities under the mentorship of Kru Bah.
The community of Khru Bah is not limited to him and his disciples. It is impossible to imagine a life of this community without a nun, Khun Ead, who is responsible for a variety of daily tasks, such as cooking and healthcare. Moreover, there is a strong interdependence between villagers and monks; since villagers earn merit once they give alms to the monks. Still, one of the episodes depicts that monks led by Kru Bah provide blankets and food for some poor villagers, standing in a long queue. This shows an altruistic component of Kru Bah's community.
One might be prejudiced that the Buddhist monks behave in a very peaceful manner. The documentary reveals, however, that Khru Bah places great importance on the discipline among his surrounding and can even apply physical strength to the ones, who break the order. This applies to villagers, who wanted to fight each other in one of the scenes, and also to his disciples who are stubborn and are unwilling to follow their master's directions. Such behavior might be shaped by his past as a boxer. It should be mentioned that Thai boxing is a necessary skill for his disciples as a means of self-defense. At certain moments, Khru Bah appears as an authoritative figure, but this only emphasizes his prestige among people. This illustrates a high degree of respect for monks within a whole Buddhist community.
Overall, the director and his crew made a fascinating job in showcasing life of a small Buddhist community. By demonstrating how multiple aspects of Sangha life intertwine with each other, they help a viewer to get a complete and realistic picture of the monks lives. Although, Kru Bah is far from being a usual monk, his life is an inspirational story about the strength of will, purity of intentions, mutual help and discipline.