Gautama Buddha, also known as Siddhārtha Gautama, Shakyamuni Buddha, or simply the Buddha, was an ascetic on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. He is believed to have lived and taught mostly in the eastern part of ancient India sometime between the sixth and fourth centuries before Christ.
Gautama is the primary figure in Buddhism. He is recognized by Buddhists as an enlightened teacher who attained full Buddhahood, and shared his insights to help sentient beings end rebirth and suffering. Gautama taught a Middle Way between sensual indulgence and the severe asceticism.
Little Buddha is a movie about the quest of a group of monks, to seek out the reincarnation of a late great Buddhist teacher. In the story, which is also enacted as a story within the movie, a Hindu prince called Siddhartha sets on a journey to achieve his goal.
Mara, a jealous demon, senses that Siddhartha is about to attain enlightenment and sends his daughters to distract him. Failing to do so, he attempts to shatter Siddharthas resolve and thus begins an onslaught of threats, intimidation and temptation.
Mara summons a terrifying horde of monsters of every conceivable description but even something as horrific as this still leaves Siddhartha unmoved, unperturbed. Instead he transforms the weapons which these hosts throw at him into lotus petals which exude a lovely fragrance as they gently floated down to earth.
Mara decides that Siddhartha will not deny himself and turns into his image in a reflection on a pool of water. Instead Siddhartha reaches and pulls the image out of the water. The classic Buddhist dialogue between Mara and Siddhartha takes place:
Mara: ‘You who go where others dare not; Will you be my God? The architect of my house?’
Siddhartha: ‘Finally I meet the illusion of self; Your evil house will not be built again.’
Mara: ‘But you live in me; I am your house.’
Siddhartha: ‘O, Lord of my own ego, you are pure illusion. You, do not exist. The earth is my witness.’