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“Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring” by Kim Ki-duk Essay

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Updated: Jul 29th, 2022

The movies Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and…. Spring is about a story of a boy who decides to spend his life as a Buddhist Monk. The movie shows how he passes through the different phases of life in the same monastery where he lives with his master. The strong worldly feelings and desires of the Monk distracted him from his aim for a certain while. But, in the end, he comes back to his master in the monastery. But, after a certain period of time, the monk runs away again in search of the girl he meets in the monastery. Several years pass when he returns to his master, having killed his wife, the same girl. The master still lets him in.

But eventually, the police come hunting for him in the monastery and arrest him for the murder of his wife. Earlier, his master had warned him that “lust leads to desire, and desire leads to intention to kill”. Having ignored his master’s warning, the monk pushed himself into trouble.

Later, when the monk has been taken by the police, the master sits in meditation on the rowboat. He seals his senses and burns himself to death. In ‘Winter’, the apprentice returns to his master’s monastery to find it empty and abandoned. He finds all his master’s belongings as they had been left untouched. After a certain amount of time, a lady comes to the monastery with her baby, with the desire of leaving it with the monk.

The monk raises the baby and teaches him all that his master had taught him. Along with that, the boy is shown to have qualities exactly like the monk, who is his master. With this, the cycle completes in ‘Spring’.

The religion of Buddhism teaches the four noble truths-

  1. Dukkha
  2. Samudaya
  3. Nirodha
  4. Magga

Dukkha, or suffering, is the first noble truth taught by Buddha. Samudaya or attachment is the root cause of suffering or Dukkha. Nirodha is known to be the end of Dukkha or suffering. Finally, Magga is the way to end Dukkha. These are the four noble truths taught by Buddha.

According to Buddhism, the ultimate is inexplicable. It cannot be understood nor can it be explained. It can only be believed. The Upanishads teach us that our attachment to the ‘samsaric cycle is only because of the reason that, we are not even slightly aware of the knowledge of the ‘Self’. Our desires bind us to this ‘samsaric cycle. The most prominent feature of Buddhism is ‘realism’. If one is under the influence of Dukkha, he/she is bound to the ‘samsaric world with almost the impossibility of leaving it ever, until he/she realizes his/her real self.

According to Buddhism, nothing on this earth is everlasting. Everything perishes into oblivion sooner or later. The best real-life example of this would be a family. Man is undoubtedly attached to his family and all his near and dear ones. But, again, they will not live forever. They will die when their time comes. There is no such thing as permanent. Dukkha comes then when we don’t realize that all is unreal. Or to be precise, all is temporary. When we are forced to lose our loved possession, we experience Dukkha. The Buddhists have diagnosed about twelve factors which are the reasons for Dukkha. If these factors are removed, Dukkha will cease to exist. The root cause of suffering is known to be ‘Ignorance’. These factors are-

  1. Ignorance
  2. Impulses to action
  3. Consciousness
  4. Body and Mind
  5. Six senses
  6. Sense impressions
  7. Perception
  8. Desire
  9. Grasping
  10. Becoming
  11. Birth
  12. Old age and Death (Buddhism-Beliefs and Practices, 45)

The fourth noble truth is further explained in the concept of the Eight-Fold Path. It is said to be the midway between ‘hedonism’ and ‘asceticism’. Hedonism means excessive self-indulgence and Asceticism means excessive self-mortification. The Eight-Fold path gives us the way to end our suffering or Dukkha. This, along with the Four Noble truths, consists of the summary of Buddhism.

The Eightfold path is divided into three major parts namely- Wisdom, Ethical Conduct, Mental Development. Wisdom consists of the Right View and Right Intention. Ethical Conduct incorporates Right speed, Right Action, and Right livelihood. Lastly, Mental Development incorporates the Right effort, Right mindfulness, and Right concentration. Gautam Buddha said that it is only through practice that one can attain a higher level of existence.

The first path, i.e. the Right View is said to be the start and the end of the path. This part deals with having the right kind of view towards the world. It helps us in realizing the four noble truths. Next, Right Intentions have been classified by Buddha into three ways-

  1. Intention of Renunciation
  2. Intention of Goodwill
  3. Intention of Harmlessness

The first classification teaches us to have the ability to detach ourselves from worldly pleasures. The Intention of Goodwill teaches us to keep away from feelings of anger. The last classification tells us to eliminate violence and develop compassion.

The Right Speech incorporates the concept of having the ability not to use abusive words by any chance. One must tell the truth and speak in a friendly manner. Right Action incorporates the necessity of abstaining oneself from sexual misconduct and harming anyone deliberately. It also teaches one to abstain from acts of theft and robbery. Then, Right Livelihood tells us to earn one’s living in a fair way and keep away from anything that might hurt or disturb others.

Right Effort is detailed in four types of endeavors-

  1. To prevent the arising of unarisen wholesome state
  2. To abandon unwholesome states that have already arisen
  3. To arouse wholesome states that have not yet arisen
  4. To maintain and perfect wholesome states already arisen.

Right, Mindfulness is the capability to see things as they are, with complete consciousness. One must control the way his or her thoughts travel. Buddha has again classified this into three parts-

  1. Contemplation of the body
  2. Contemplation of feelings
  3. Contemplation of the mind
  4. Contemplation of the phenomena.

Right Concentration, the last step of the Eightfold path, means controlling the mind. It teaches us to have the power of concentration. According to Buddha, concentration can be increased optimally through meditation. It is the best way to do so.

So, if we follow the concepts of the Four Noble truths and the Eight-Fold Path, one can expect to have a certain amount of self-realization which would make life worthwhile.

Works Cited Page

Fowler Merv. Buddhism: Beliefs and Practices. Sussex Academic Press. 1999. Web.

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""Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring" by Kim Ki-duk." IvyPanda, 29 July 2022, ivypanda.com/essays/spring-summer-fall-winter-and-spring-by-kim-ki-duk/.

1. IvyPanda. ""Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring" by Kim Ki-duk." July 29, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/spring-summer-fall-winter-and-spring-by-kim-ki-duk/.


IvyPanda. ""Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring" by Kim Ki-duk." July 29, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/spring-summer-fall-winter-and-spring-by-kim-ki-duk/.


IvyPanda. 2022. ""Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring" by Kim Ki-duk." July 29, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/spring-summer-fall-winter-and-spring-by-kim-ki-duk/.


IvyPanda. (2022) '"Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring" by Kim Ki-duk'. 29 July.

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