American Beauty And Buddhism

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate May 2001

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The Truth in Beauty Imagine waking up in the morning and feeling emotionally dead. In the movie "American Beauty," Kevin Spacey plays Lester Burnham, a middle aged family man who has no passion, motivation or reason in his life. "American Beauty" won the most coveted award given to movies. "American Beauty" won several Oscars including movie of the year, and best lead actor for the portrayal of Lester Burnham. This movie revolves around the insignificant material possessions we consider beauty and how we do not appreciate our lives. "American Beauty" had several references to Buddhism. The moral of the movie is to appreciate life and what we have. The only true possession we have in this materialistic world is our "˜self.' In watching this movie I could clearly relate to the Buddhist notion of the "˜Perfect Wisdom,' and the meditation quality of "˜suffusing joy.'

The movie is based on how American society truly is. Lester Burhman has a boring corporate job and lives in the suburbs. He has a wife who ignores his existence and a rebellious teenager who won't listen to him. The movie reveals how materialistic and image conscious we truly are as Americans. Lester realizes he has been unhappy in his life for nearly a decade. He wakes up to his boring life one morning and realizes he has no reason, or desire to live. He has a job he hates, a body he doesn't like and a wife and daughter who want nothing to do with him. Ever since he gave up his identity in order to be fit societies definition of a family man he gave up being alive. The movie revolves around Lester awakening to his own reality, and realizing he is not alive because...