Pureland@Movie Studio, The Five People You Meet in Heaven

Session One:  Reflecting on the meaning and the value of life from “The Five People You Meet in Heaven”

Date and Time:  2010/10/02 13:00~17:30

Instructor -- Dr. Aries Gu, School of Life and Living

“Pureland@Movie Studio,” a collaboration between Dharma Drum Young Buddhists Society and Dharma Drum University, premiered on the afternoon of Oct 2nd on the sixth floor of the Dharma Drum Degui Academy.

The series of workshops brings four films of distinctive flavors jointly recommended by the four academies of the Dharma Drum University. Through movies with multiple themes we will be able to taste the four facets of life, environment, arts and philanthropy and through examination, reflection, discussion and sharing we will also care for, partake and explore the possibility of Pure Land on Earth.

The workshop begins with watching the movie, at the end of which an instructor from Dharma Drum University will comment on the meaning of the movie and give an in-depth analysis.  This will be followed by bringing up topics worth discussing, which will then lead to group discussions.

The first session “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” was recommended by the School of Life and Living. Professor Aries Gu explored with us the subjects brought up in the movie, including self-exploration, career exploration, interpersonal relationships, and the meaning and the value of life.

“The Five People You Meet in Heaven,” an adaptation of the novel by the same name, describes the life of an old maintenance man named Eddie who works in an amusement park. After leaving the army, with a leg injury and the death of his father Eddie is stuck in his hometown, fixing and maintaining the rides at the amusement park, feeling trapped by fate until his very last breath.

On the day of his 83rd birthday, Eddies finds himself in heaven after he was killed trying to save a little girl. In heaven, Eddie meets five people that have played a part in his life.

“When the end comes, how many amongst us can leave without regret? Looking back and reflecting on the lives we have led, leads us to ponder, how to live a life without regret?” Instructor Aries Gu explored and shared with us the five themes in the movie, including “Salvation before Transmigration”, “Love and Affection - Intertwined for life”, “The pains and sorrows of War and Unraveling the Mystery”, ”Return and Healing”. She guided us through group discussions around these five themes and then we shared our findings in the lobby.

Through the film, students were able to reexamine their relationships with their fathers, discuss the values of everyone’s lives and the significance of small potatoes and big shots.  The movie touches on everyone’s different life experiences and as a result causes one to reflect on one’s journey of life. Like a line from the movie “As it turns out, there has always been parts of someone else's lives in our own; and someone else’s story will intersect with our own at the most unexpected of times.”


The other three movies of Pureland@Movie Studio are as follows, on November 6th, the School of Philanthropy recommends “Black Gold”, a movie that explores globalization and fair trade; on the 11th of December, the School of Environmental Studies recommends “The Age of Stupid”, in which modern men’s destruction of the environment through technologies is looked at from the future as the age of stupid; the fourth movie is “Little Nicholas”, recommended by the School of Arts and Culture, an adaptation of the French children’s book of the same name,; it looks at the world through the eyes of a child, exploring the issues of parent-child relationship and social group management. At the end of each film, instructors from the respective schools will also guide us to explore the themes and discuss our findings with everyone.