• Luigi

Learning from the Movie, "Why We Live": Ryoken's Experience of the Suffering of Separa

The "suffering of separation from the beloved" is the 5th of the 8 sufferings taught by the Buddha, and it means the suffering of having to part from people or things you love. If we had to move away from a neighborhood we were used to living in, the school we used to go to every day, or the house we were fond of, we would probably miss all of them. We also feel sad when fun times are over or when we lose our youth or health; these are all examples of "the suffering of separation from the beloved." Some people may live thriftily in order to save money, only to have it all taken away due to some fraud, while others may fear losing the social position that they worked so hard to obtain. These too are examples of "the suffering of separation from the beloved." As the saying goes, "All meetings end in parting"—once we have met a person, the time to part from them must also come. Nothing is as painful as parting from someone we hold dear. In the movie Why We Live: Master Rennyo and the Fire at Yoshizaki, the suffering of separation from the beloved is depicted vividly through Ryoken, who later becomes a disciple of Master Rennyo. Ryoken had lost his dear wife Chiyo and their unborn baby all of a sudden and so was struggling with unbearable anger and sadness. In one scene, we see him swinging his sword at grass and trees and letting out cries of anguish. This too is an expression of the "suffering of separation from the beloved." Just as Ryoken was relying on his wife and children, we too live by drawing strength from various people and things in our lives. But sooner or later, we all have to die. When the time comes that we have to leave for the next world, no-one will come along with us. There is not even one thing we can take with us from this world. In the movie, Master Rennyo was telling Ryoken that at the mountain road of death, one must cross to the other side all alone.

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