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  • Writer's picturePeter K F Cheung SBS

Siddhartha Gautama

  1. FADE IN.

  2. Act 1


  4. PETER is reading a question on his phone.

  5. PETER (V.O.): Oh, in March, a televangelist ordered the coronavirus to go away and declared US was well. But that doesn't seem to work. Should he try again?

  6. Peter smiles.


  8. Relaxing on a sofa, Peter is glued to his phone again.

  9. PETER (V.O.): It's really interesting to study the history of China's relationships with countries bordering it on land, from Vietnam, North Korea, Russia to Mongolia, India and Nepal.

  10. Pausing.

  11. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Nepal seems relatively insignificant to China and me.

  12. Peter discover something interesting on his phone screen.

  13. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): There're arguments between Nepalese and Indians regarding the origin of Siddhartha Gautama. Who is he?

  14. Pausing.

  15. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): Oh my God! That's the name of Buddha! I only know of his other name as Shakamuni or the sage of Shakyas.


  17. INT. CLASSROOM - DAY (1964)

  18. Peter (10) is studying a booklet.

  19. PETER (V.O.): The Buddha was born around 567 BC in a small kingdom below the Himalayan foothills. His father is a Shakya clan chief. It was prophesied that he would become a great sage.

  20. Pausing.

  21. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Although he had everything, he changed after seeing a sick man, an old man and a corpse. He decided to leave everything behind in search of the answer to the problem of human suffering on his own.

  22. Act 2

  23. Reading.

  24. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): He learned how to discipline his mind to enter the sphere of nothingness, and to be in a state of neither consciousness or non-consciousness.

  25. Pausing.

  26. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): He ate very little, focusing on his mind rather than his body. He self-enlightened himself to become Buddha at the age of 35.

  27. Reading.

  28. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): He realized that all human beings were characterized by lack of satisfaction, pain and suffering.

  29. Reading.

  30. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): He recognized that the origin of human suffering was their crave for pleasure and continued existence.

  31. Reading.

  32. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): He walked through the villages and towns of India, doing the knowledge transfer and begging his own meal.

  33. Reading.

  34. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): He didn't heal any dead, but let people know that death was universal. He himself died at the age of 80.


  36. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): My primary school in Hung Shui Kiu is a Buddhist school. Endorsing Buddha's insight, I once thought of the possibility of shaving my hair and leaving home to become a monk.

  37. Recalling.

  38. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): But as a young boy, the thought of eating very little wasn't appealing; and I hated the thought of begging for meals all the time.

  39. Recalling.

  40. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): In the my secondary school years, I began to study the Bible and read about miracles. I found the biblical stories incredible.

  41. Recalling.

  42. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Even so, I sat the Biblical Knowledge pubic exam five years later. I answered the questions like commenting on fiction and got a bare pass.

  43. Recalling.

  44. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): When I began to study philosophy in 1976 as an external student of London U, I was particularly fond of the subject on religion.

  45. Recalling.

  46. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I realized that one's religious belief was linked to culture. And if God existed at all, it had many names.

  47. Recalling.

  48. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I did very well in that subject and got an honours degree through enlightening myself.

  49. Reflecting.

  50. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): So, before I learned any history about the British colony of Hong Kong, Chinese history and world history, I had learned the religious history of Siddhartha Gautama.

  51. Pausing.

  52. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Well, I don't know what I know.

  53. Act 3


  55. Pausing.

  56. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Whether Buddhism originated from the modern Nepal or model India doesn't matter to me, but only to the countries concerned.

  57. Peter surfs the web.

  58. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Buddhism is the world's 4th largest religion, after Christianity, Islam and Hinduism.

  59. Reading.

  60. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): There are around 520 million followers or 7% of the world population.

  61. Pausing.

  62. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Officially, I am one of them. When I was young, I appealed to Buddha's blessing whenever Hong Kong was having a typhoon.

  63. Reflecting.

  64. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Now, Siddhartha Gautama has become significant as his birthday is a general holiday in Hong Kong, China. The British monarch's birthday has long become irrelevant.

  65. Pausing.

  66. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Times have changed. To improve is to change. To be perfect is to change often.

  67. Pondering.

  68. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I just can't imagine how life would be like for me if I was a monk.

  69. Inserting an image to his blog post, Peter smiles.


  71. Peter is using it.

  72. PETER (V.O.): People can get ideas in the process.

  73. THE END

  74. FADE OUT.

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