Little Buddha

Synopsis: Lama Norbu comes to Seattle in search of the reincarnation of his dead teacher, Lama Dorje. His search leads him to young Jesse Conrad, Raju, a waif from Kathmandu, and an upper class Indian girl. Together, they journey to Bhutan where the three children must undergo a test to prove which is the true reincarnation. Interspersed with this, is the story of Siddharta, later known as the Buddha. It traces his spiritual journey from ignorance to true enlightenment.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Bernardo Bertolucci
Production: Miramax
  2 wins & 3 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
123 min

[ Man ] Once upon a time in

a village in ancient India,

there was a little goat

and a priest.

The priest wanted to

sacrifice the goat to the gods.

He raised his arm

to cut the goat's throat,

when suddenly

the goat began to laugh.

The priest stopped, amazed,

and asked the goat,

"Why do you laugh? Don't you know

I'm about to cut your throat?"

"Oh, yes," said the goat.

"After 499 times dying...

and being reborn as a goat,

I will be reborn

as a human being."

Then the little goat

began to cry.

The high priest said,

"Why now are you crying?"

And the goat replied,

"For you, poor priest.

I too was a high priest...

and sacrificed goats

to the gods."

The priest dropped

to his knees, saying,

"Forgive me, I beg you.

From now on, I will be the guardian and

protector of every goat in the land."

[ Children Laughing ]

Now, then, what does this

ancient tale teach us?

[ Together ]

That no living creature...

must ever be sacrificed.

What happened to--

to the goat?

Ah, yes, the goat.

Mmm. The goat had many, many lives

as a human being,

until one day he turned

into someone...

very strange indeed.

- Champa!

- [ Children Laugh ]

Show us something of

your previous life, huh?

- [ Bleating ]

- [ Laughing ]

Telegram for Lama Norbu.

I've been waiting

for nine years...

to receive this.

[ Bell Ringing ]

[ Children Yelling,

Laughing ]

- Is it about Lama Dorje?

- Yes.

- Have they found him?

- Perhaps!

We shall all pray for

the success of your mission.

[ Praying in Tibetan ]

And, uh, remember

to take your medicine.

~~ [ Monks Singing ]


[ Man's Voice ]

This is Lama Dorje's bowl.

You will need it

for your search.

[ Children Laughing,

Yelling ]

[ Laughing, Yelling

Continue ]

[ Country Folk ]

Everybody is a-wonderin'!

What and where

they all came from!

- Everybody is a-worryin' 'bout

where they're gonna go!

- Seattle!

When the whole thing's


But no one knows

for certain!

- So it's all the same to me.

- [ Monk ] It's so wonderful

to see you again,

- [ Song Continues ]

- but you must be very tired

after such a long flight.

- [ Lama Norbu ] Yes, a little tired.

- [ Truck Horn Honking ]

Tell me again

about your dreams.

My dreams began about a month

after Lama Dorje passed away.

They were so intense, and they

always led me to the same place.

- The empty site.

- Yes.

Lama Dorje was walking

in front of me, on a hill.

He was pointing to

this empty spot,

but there was nothing there.

And then I found the site...

quite by chance

a few months after,

just as it was in the dreams.

I saw they had started

to build a house.

I discovered that it belonged

to the family of an engineer...

with a small boy called Jesse,

an only child.

He was born a year after

Lama Dorje passed away.

[ Song Continues, Faintly ]

Lama Dorje

was wearing jeans?

Oh, yes.

It was quite startling,

because in life,

he always wore robes.

Of course, I felt very shy

about approaching them,

but then I was lucky.

Three weeks ago...

- [ Whistle Blows ]

- [ Coach ] Line up again!

A beautiful day.

Yes, it is.

I'm a Buddhist monk from Tibet.

My name is Kenpo Tenzin.

Oh. Oh.

Nice to meet you.

Now I teach here

in Seattle.

Oh, really?

I'm a teacher too. I teach math.

Oh! Like me!

[ Laughs ]

Also I teach astrology.

Mostly astrology.

How unusual.

We Tibetans have a very

advanced system of astrology.

- Excuse me.

- [ Coach ] Go! Play! Go!

[ Whistle Blows ]


May I ask, uh,

what day-- on what day

your son was born?

- On March 1st.

- Wonderful!

And at what hour?

In the morning.

Very early. 6:

Oh, wonderful, wonderful!

Very special!

[ Laughing ]

- Oh. Well, I don't know

about that, but--

- Oh, yes!

Oh, yes. Oh, yes.

May I give you this card, please?

Thank you.


[ Kenpo ]

I wrote her last week.

I mentioned that an important

lama wanted to see her.

[ Doorbell Ringing ]

It's okay, Maria,

I'll get it.

- I can get it!

- It's all right.

- Mrs. Conrad, you remember me?

We met at--

- Yes, of course.

At Jesse's school.

The Tibetan astrologer.

Kenzo Te--

[ Chuckling ]

Kenpo Tenzin.

Kenpo Tenzin. Yes.

I-I got your invitation

that you sent me...

to the Dharma Center,

and, uh,

I've... been meaning to go.

I just haven't had the time, but, uh--

But I will.

I'm looking forward to it.

My friend Lama Norbu has

just arrived from Bhutan...

and has never been

in America before.

He's a very important lama.

He's come on a very special mission.

Oh, really? Well,

would you like to come inside?

Yes. Yes,

that would be very kind.

It will be very

interesting for him.

This is Mrs. Conrad.

This is Lama Norbu.

Please come inside.

It's a bit of a mess.

My husband

built this house.

He's an engineer.

As you can see, we're still

living out of boxes,

but at least

the kitchen's done.

We only just moved in

a few weeks ago.

- Very empty.

- [ Lama Norbu ] Very beautiful.

- Yes.

- Mrs. Conrad?

Is it okay if I go?

- Yes, It's fine, Maria. It's fine.

Thank you. I'll see you tomorrow.

Very exciting.

It's very exciting to me.

- Really?

- Yes.

Can I get you some--

[ Chuckling ] something to drink?

- Oh, no. Thank you.

- Thank you.

All right.

Please sit down.

- Are you sure, Mrs. Conrad?

Is it okay if I go now?

- It's okay, Maria.

- Really. It's fine.

- Okay.

Please make yourselves

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Rudy Wurlitzer

Rudolph "Rudy" Wurlitzer (born January 3, 1937) is an American novelist and screenwriter.Wurlitzer's fiction includes Nog, Flats, Quake, Slow Fade, and Drop Edge of Yonder. He is also the author of the travel memoir, Hard Travel to Sacred Places, an account of his spiritual journey through Asia after the death of his wife Lynn Davis' 21-year-old son. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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