Some River Reflections

From the 1957 movie ‘The River’directed by Jean Renoir –

Same But Different

Nan: Why can’t you be good like Elizabeth?
Harriet: It’s easy for her to be good because she is good.

Comments: We all have Buddha-Nature, the potential to be pure within.
In this sense, it is easy for all to become pure.
Yet, as some are less shrouded by defilements, it’s as if easier for them to be so.

Whose Enjoyment?

The Father: If you stay long enough, we’ll arrange a camp and get you a shot at a tiger.
Captain John: Oh, I should like that very much.
Mr. John: But would the tiger?

Comments: There is no reply to that.
This could be the scriptwriter’s or author’s way
to leave it to the audience to answer the question with their conscience.

Innocence Lost

Mr. John (on Bogey the boy’s accidental death while playing with a cobra): I drink to the children. We should celebrate that a child died a child. That one escaped. We lock them in our schools. We teach them our stupid taboos. We catch them in our wars and they can’t resist. They’ve no armour, and so we kill them. We massacre the innocents. And the world is for children – the real world. They climb trees and roll in the grass. They’re close to the ants and as free as the birds. They’re like animals. They’re not ashamed. They know what is important. A mouse is born or a leaf drops in a pond. If the world could be made of children…

Comments: Death is worth no celebration and is no true escape if there is no certainty of where it leads one to. Education and discipline when merely for taming and conforming is a shame if it makes children lose their sense of wonder and freedom. Yet, their innocence is not always a wonderful thing, for it can lead to danger to – for themselves and others, for it is ignorance too. Perhaps innocence is overrated, though the smarts are too. What we need more is wisdom – for both children and adults. With compassion too of course.


Captain John: I think with everything that happens to you, with every person you meet who is important to you, you either die a little bit or are born…
Harriet: Who’s important to you, Captain John?
Captain John: Everybody.

Comments: May we not die in terms of being heartbroken, but in terms of diminshing our attachment, aversion and delusion. May we be reborn in terms of growing into greater generosity, compassion and wisdom. Everybody should be important to everybody in equanimity!

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