Forbidden Kingdom – fun and wisdom
Last night I went to see “The Forbidden Kingdom” movie with a wonderful guy, Aaron Emmel. Anyone who has the richness of personality and ability for integrity to incorporate love for the Baha’i Faith, applying its principles for world development and justice, human rights, rock music, writing, and movies, earns my sincere admiration! Plus he has an awesome wife 🙂
Now onto the movie:
My love for martial arts movies was rooted in my friendship with one of the most diverse characters I had met in my life, Hristo Filipov. He was the one who introduced me to Wu-Shu, Tai-Chi, Kung-Fu and so on. He was the one who made me appreciate those bootleg copies of old Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan movies. He is also the one who introduced me to Zen Buddhism and even if unwillingly, was spiritually an important factor for the training of my mind and soul that would lead to my accepting the teachings of Baha’u’llah.
That is why I observed with interest the multiple references to Zen Buddhism and their parallels with the Baha’i Writings interspersing the movie’s action scenes with those Yoda-like wisdom moments which I have paraphrased since I cannot claim to quote precisely:
“Music is a bridge between heaven and earth” – Golden Sparrow, the orphan warrior, tells Jason, the main character of the movie.
We, verily, have made music as a ladder for your souls, a means whereby they may be lifted up unto the realm on high; make it not, therefore, as wings to self and passion.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 38)
“Vengeance is a burden with which we choose to punish ourselves.” – says Silent Monk when addressing Golden Sparow’s desire to avenge for her parents’ death. Just as Abdu’l-Baha affirms:
Now vengeance, according to reason, is also blameworthy, because through vengeance no good result is gained by the avenger. So if a man strikes another, and he who is struck takes revenge by returning the blow, what advantage will he gain? Will this be a balm for his wound or a remedy for his pain? No, God forbid! In truth the two actions are the same: both are injuries; the only difference is that one occurred first, and the other afterward. Therefore, if he who is struck forgives, nay, if he acts in a manner contrary to that which has been used toward him, this is laudable. The law of the community will punish the aggressor but will not take revenge. This punishment has for its end to warn, to protect and to oppose cruelty and transgression so that other men may not be tyrannical.
But if he who has been struck pardons and forgives, he shows the greatest mercy. This is worthy of admiration.
(Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 267)
Last but not least comes the initial prejudice expressed by both the Silent Monk (Jet Lee) and the Drunken Master (Jackie Chan) towards the young guy who is to fulfill the prophecy of the mortal ones:
“But, he’s not even Chinese.”
To which Baha’u’llah responds:
National rivalries, hatreds and intrigues will cease, and racial animosity and prejudice will be replaced by racial amity, understanding and co-operation.
(Baha’u’llah, The Proclamation of Baha’u’llah, p. xii)
Let not a man glory in this, that he loves his country; let him rather glory in this, that he loves his kind.
Disclaimer: The images of the movie actors are from Crystal Liu Yifei’s Photo Gallery.