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Elizabeth Whalen
Mrs. Hope
English LPS
9 November 2015
Little Buddha
Jesse was just a regular nine year old boy living in Seattle. One day two Buddhist monks
came to inform him and his mother that Jesse could very well be the reincarnation of a Lama
Dorje, an important Buddhist spiritual leader. Though Jesses mother did not believe in the
concept of reincarnation, a huge belief in Buddhism, she was still supportive and open to the
scenario. On the other hand, Jesses father was against the whole idea of Jesse being a
reincarnation of a Buddhist teacher because this idea did not correspond with his beliefs.
The two monks gave Jesse a book called Little Buddha in order to give Jesse a
background on Buddhism. I admire how the movie incorporated this because it gave the
audience a background on how Buddhism was formed. This book, in summary, is a story about
Siddhartha Gautama, a prince who was kept inside of a palace for a huge portion of his life
because his father wanted to keep him away from all kinds of pain. One day he heard an unusual
song being sung inside the palace, so he asked his lover what and why this woman was singing
such a unique song. She tells him that the song was from a faraway land and it evokes the beauty
of the country the singer knew as a child. Siddhartha became confused when she said that there
was another land outside of the palace that contained such beauty, so he is determined to see the
outside world with his own eyes. Unfortunately, when he does see the outside world, he sees a
poor community, an old man, a sick man and a dead man, all of which fall under the category of

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suffering. Siddhartha was determined to find an end to suffering. He discovers the way to do this
is to follow the Middle Way, or the path between the two extremes. All of this information was
provided in order to give the reader, along with Jesse and his family, a better understanding of
Reincarnation is a huge aspect of Buddhism. Buddhists believe that once a person dies,
their soul is reborn into a new body. Because of this, when Lama Dorje passed away, two
Buddhist monks were on the search to find his reincarnation. They narrowed it down between
three different children; Jesse, Raju, and Gita. Lama Norbu wanted Jesse to visit Nepal in order
to meet the other candidates. Jesses father is completely against this idea until he finds out that
his friend had committed suicide, and then he agrees to go to Nepal. Even though Jesse and his
family werent even Buddhists, the Buddhist teachings and stories fascinated Jesse enough so
that his parents began to believe that going to Nepal would be the right thing to do. If the
Buddhist concept of reincarnation did not exist, then there would be no need for the Buddhist
monks to find Jesse, and Jesse would not have the knowledge and experiences that he had with
While in Nepal, the monks asked each of the three candidates which hat they liked the
most. All of the hats were exactly the same; however, one hat belonged to Lama Dorje. All three
of the candidates chose the one that belonged to the Lama. After even more decisions, Lama
Norbu decided that all three of the children were reincarnations of Lama Dorje. This is a very
rare occurrence in Buddhism. The three children are separate manifestations of the body, the
speech and the mind. Obviously, these types of decisions in Buddhism are a very long, thought
out process, however they allow for the most accuracy.

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Buddhism played a key role in the lives of Jesse, his mother and father, the two other
candidates and of course the monks. Because of the core Buddhist belief of reincarnation, the
monks searched for and found three children who all traveled to Nepal and who all ended up
being the reincarnation of the Lama. The monks were able to leave a huge impact on the lives of
Jesse, the two other candidates, and his family. Buddhism will continue to play a huge role in
Jesses life after this life changing experience. The Buddhist teachings will continue to guide
Jesse and the monks for the rest of their lives, and one day Jesse might become an extremely
strong and powerful Buddhist leader. Maybe someday another Buddhist monk will be searching
for the reincarnation of Jesse.