Representation of Lifecycle from Beginning to Death through the Four Seasons

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Nature often reflects the natural order of the universe. The movie Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring, is released on September 19,2003 and it is directed by Kim Ki-Duk. The film is divided into five segments and each segment depicts a stage in the life of a Buddhist monk and his older teacher. The cyclical nature of season can compare with the cyclical nature of the life for a human-being likewise from birth through adulthood and into old age and ending with the death. This movie revolves around the two characters: one is Jae- Kyeong Seo (Kid Monk) and the second is Yeong-Su Oh (Old Master) who live in the tiny floating monastery in a lake surrounded by mountains and trees. Every aspect of movie teaches us about the life and nature whether it is animals or human beings. The storyline gives a thought-provoking message to the viewers as it combines the faith, love, jealousy, anger, rage, growth and enlightenment. In this contemporary era, people hardly focus on their inner awareness. Thus, this movie helps us to make sometime for self-awareness by presenting mediation, discipline and an aura of that place. In this movie, Kim Ki-Duk personifies our worldly attachments and the idea that our Karmic accounts lead to suffering through four seasons. Indeed, I analyzed this movie based on three perspectives such as the importance of a sacred place, desires leading to suffering and the act that life never stops.

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The monastery, a lake, mountain and a green lush environment is the refection of natural beauty and positivity. This kind of relaxing environment attracts the worshippers who are wondering in the search of spiritual beings which defines the caring nature of person towards the animals and nature. For instance, a monk (old master) in a movie lives in the placid surroundings. Thus, he practices Buddhist teachings by living detached from the rest of the world. His only purpose is to be freed from worldly desire and achieve Nirvana. Even his monastery from the inside manifests the discipline and respect towards his Guru (The Statue of Buddha). According to the chapter “Ice” from the book The Old ways, written by Robert Macfarlane has given the reference of the sacred mountains Kailash and Minya Konya and their importance for the religious seeker. He describes the life of the Buddhist pilgrim who practices his religious beliefs at the foot of Minya Konya. The Kora- the Tibetan-Buddhist term for the form of pilgrimage in which the walker circumambulates, clockwise, the holy site – involves the pilgrim making body-length prostrations over the entire length of the circumambulation. In addition to this, The Buddhist scholar Lama Govinda talks about “The power of such mountains. He says that invisible power of these mountains is so influential or act as magnet, devotees from near and far naturally enchanted by this power” (262). On the other hand, some people may question if the Buddha is human being not a God then why do people worship him? However, this statement ignores that the fact that with this statement because sacred places have their own importance. Thus, the old monk has given the importance to this place, which is away from the rest of the world. Likewise, Macfarlane talks about the mountains and their importance for the devotees so old monks attracted by the natural beauty and a calm environment of this place. Therefore, people can practice their spiritual journey here without any worldly disturbance.

When the summer season comes it shows the indication of love, desire and affection. One day, a girl came in the monastery for the treatment of her illness and young man starts loving the girl and both fell in love. The old monk acknowledges everything silently. After someday, the master notifies that the girl is fine now he asked her to leave. By hearing this, young monk becomes so sad and broken-hearted or told his master that he cannot live without her. Old monk explains his disciple, “Desire leads to attachment which leads to intention to kill”, but he ignores his master words and leave the monastery with girl. After a while, he came back to the monastery full of rage, anguish and frustration with knife blood on it. He killed his wife because she betrayed him. He was so impatience and could not tolerated what happened to him and tried to kill himself. His master beat him and said, “you might be killed someone, but you cannot kill yourself so easily.” According to Buddhism, the circle of life is full of sufferings. If we are living in this world, human beings must face the physical and mental sufferings caused by illness, death, separation from loved ones, greed, anger and depression from unsatisfied situation. In Sutta-Pitaka, Buddha describes his disciples how we can release anger and other negative emotions (Mahamakut Buddhist University, 1982). This is true statement from my behalf as well because if you want to achieve something than you must go through the sufferings such as pain. His heart is so much filled with negativity that he becomes restless when his wife betrays him. Thus, as explained in Buddhist belief, any kind of excessive attachment to this world is the reason for human suffering.

Life always goes on or it never stop even if there is death and sorrows. When young monk returned to the lake in the winter season after getting punishment, his master left the world. He starts following living life as his master do such as mediation, exercise and martial arts. A movie shows the complete circle of life or after one year again when spring comes it shows a young monk who becomes old man and has his own disciple. The little monk does same things as young monk did in his childhood like playing with animals. Therefore, new beginning of life starts again. The writer Nourie in his paper gives the reference to Buddha consider the three basic concepts of our existence which include the impermanent. The Nourie mentioned everything from microorganisms to the universe itself is impermanent or a relationship between people as well. As per Buddha believes, “everything in the world is temporary and not-fixed. If something has life, it will die when the circle of the life end” (Nourie, 2013). From my point of view, this statement is correct as well because if the sorrow comes in our life or in result it does not stay forever because it is not long lasting. As a result, everybody comes into this world in different colors, creed and species where circle of life continuous with birth and death.

In conclusion, the movie shows us the true face of life realities. If we become so attached with our worldly needs, in result it gives us only sufferings. This is true; humans must go through their karmic accounts and face the consequences. In each season there is a different animal’s which define us if someone comes in this materialistic world, they would die one day. Hence, someone’s belongings will be occupied by another person or another animal. According to Buddhism, “Everything is temporary”. This is continuing process of life and death which never stops. Nonetheless, the symbolic gate at the threshold of monastery is a good example because it reflects the beginning of new season as well as the progression of life towards the awakening of the true self.

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