On a fishing boat at sea, a 60-year old man has been raising a girl since she was a baby. It is agreed that they will get married on her 17th birthday, and she is 16 now. They live a quiet and secluded life, renting the boat to day fishermen and practicing strange divination rites. Their life changes when a teenage student comes aboard...
Jae-Young is an amateur prostitute who sleeps with men while her best friend Yeo-Jin "manages" her, fixing dates, taking care of the money and making sure the coast is clear. When Jae-Young... See full summary »
A member of Coast Guard Platoon 23, Private Kang monitors a high-infiltration stretch of beach lined with barbed-wire fencing. Driven by the belief that killing a spy is the highest honor, he waits for a chance to prove his worth.
In the midst of the Korean wilderness, a Buddhist master patiently raises a young boy to grow up in wisdom and compassion, through experience and endless exercises. Once the pupil discovers his sexual lust, he seems lost to contemplative life and follows his first love, but soon fails to adapt to the modern world, gets in jail for a crime of passion and returns to the master in search of spiritual redemption and reconciliation with karma, at a high price of physical catharsis...Written by
Official submission of South Korea for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category of the 76th Academy Awards in 2004. See more »
When the old monk holds and strokes the cat, the cat's position changes between shots. See more »
Didn't you know beforehand how the world of men is? Sometimes we have to let go of the things we like. What you like, others will also like."
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The missing sequence is placed just before the final shot of the film. After the shot of child monk in the rowboat, in the cut scenes the child monk is shown putting stones into the mouths of a fish, a frog, and a snake; these scenes emphasize the film's themes of the circularity of life. The film then continues to its final scene of the Buddha statue on the hill.
After watching the movie a second time, I was determined to find out what the Old Monk had drawn on the deck of the hermitage. The only clue I had was the scene's subtitle: "Prajnaparamita Sutra it helps restore inner peace." Those were the words the Old Monk used to describe the sacred teachings that the Young Monk had to carve out as penance for his crime of passion. When I looked up the Prajnaparamita Sutra on the internet, I found out it was known as the Diamond Sutra of the Buddha.
The Buddha spoke the wise words in a monastery near Sravasti, saying that "this sutra should be called the Diamond that cuts through illusion because it has the capacity to cut through illusions and afflictions and bring us to the shore of liberation." There are 32 sutras or sections, and the 32 sections are also "marks" that are used to meditate on "the Tathagata" which means "the suchness of all things (dharmas)." The meaning of Tathagata is "does not come from anywhere and does not go anywhere." The insight into the truth of the sutras consists in a realization that "the idea of a self is not an idea, and the ideas of a person, a living being, and a life span are not ideas either." A self-realized or awakened "Buddha" is called a Buddha because he/she is free of ideas.
The "Buddha" in the Diamond Sutra is also called the World-Honored One, and his message can be summarized by two axioms: (1) "Someone who looks for me in form or seeks me in sound is on a mistaken path and cannot see the Tathagata." (2) "All composed things are like a dream, a phantom, a drop of dew, a flash of lightning. That is how to meditate on them, that is how to observe them."
Now I will have to watch the movie a third time and meditate on the 32 marks that the Old Monk draws with the cat's tail on the floor of the ashram. I will also feel the urge to count and see if there are really 32 marks.
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