You are here

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring

1 post / 0 new
Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring

[font="Times New Roman"]We all long to become part of the greater whole and discover who we truly are in the process. Our students long to do this, as well, and need our guidance to do it. I would use the Korean film [/font][font="Times New Roman Italic"]Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring[/font] to teach about the concept of interdependence and the cyclical nature of life through the metaphor of the seasons and various symbols found in the movie. In the proverbial spring of his life, a nameless boy monk ties heavy rocks to three separate animals: a fish, a frog, and a snake. His master (also nameless) quietly observes his actions. The next morning, he teaches the young boy a lesson by tying a giant stone to his back and tells him to find and release the animals. He warns his apprentice that if even one of the animals dies, he will have to “carry the stone in his heart forever”. The boy finds all three animals, but only one has survived. The boy cries loudly in the middle of the forest once he realizes the horrific results of his unintentionally cruel actions.
He grows to become a seemingly devout, sensitive young man. However, one summer, after falling in love with a woman who seeks aid at the monastery, he voluntarily leaves it for her. After many years, he murders her beyond the monastery’s sacred doors for committing adultery. After this “fall”, he spends most of his time imprisoned for this crime. Much later, the aged apprentice returns to the natural world of the monastery during a bitterly cold, lonely winter. His master’s prophecy comes to pass and the apprentice knows what he must do. He ties a heavy stone around his body and, as he climbs the tallest snow-covered mountain overlooking the monastery, he reflects on the suffering of the fish, frog, snake, and the woman he murdered. He is now one with them as he willingly experiences their anguish. Through this, he is able to somewhat reconcile his transgressions against them and gain inner peace through inward reflection and oneness with those he has wronged—humans and nonhumans alike.
A new spring season comes and, with it, the apprentice is now the new master of the monastery and takes on a boy apprentice of his own. The cycle is complete, and yet continues. This type of inward reflection on one’s actions can lead to new ways of knowing ourselves and expanding that awareness towards others—sharing with them what we know. This can be a valuable lesson for students and adults alike.