The film “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” is based on Japanese culture and vividly portrays an exceptional understanding of the Eastern culture. The documentary film shows the life of Jiro, an 85-year-old Jiro, who is not ready to retire at all and has a great determination in his work. He is relentlessly striving for an elusive perfection in the art of making sushi. He works every day with the aim and dream of making better sushi.
In the film, Jiro has acquired excellent skills in making sushi which is one of the most popular food in Japanese culture. Jiro has converted an ordinary food to become something great or extraordinary, with beauty and simplicity. Sushi to some extent is a representation of the Zen Buddhism which is the primary source of the Japanese culture. In Zen Buddhism, the truth lies in simplicity, and the most sophisticated thing is said to be the most basic simple thing. Jiro is an excellent example of Zen Buddhism as he portrays excellent skills in making sushi, converting it from simple and typical food to an extraordinary experience in his restaurant.
Zen Buddhism is a mixture of Taoism and Mahayana Buddhism which began in the Asian countries, particularly China and later spread to Korea and Japan. The essence of Zen is bringing an understanding of life directly, without being misguided by logical thought and language. In Zen Buddhism all human beings are Buddha; all they need to do is discover the truth for themselves.
In Zen Buddhism human beings do not need to search outside for answers, as answers can be found in the same place that we found the questions. To get these answers, it involves taking control of our minds through meditation to give up logical thinking. Zen scriptures do not portray human nature as evil. It only implies that within human nature, there is stubbornness, indiscipline which must be beaten out.
Eihei Dogen explains that whatever human beings become aware of and perceive it as a form of knowledge it may not be as simple as it appears. The simplicity of things has a more profound and more sophisticated truth and reality. The nature of wind is permanent; however, to actualize nature you have to engage in activities. ‘Fanning’ means to understand the presence of wind you have to act.
Unlike the Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism, esoteric Buddhism believes that it is possible for an individual to acquire enlighten during a single point of their entire lifetime. The other two believe that enlighten is achieved through various stages in life and that it takes many years to achieve the desired good human qualities. Mahayana Buddhism is referred to as the greater vehicle and the Theravada Buddhism known as the lesser vehicle. On the other hand, esoteric Buddhism is known as Thunderbolt vehicle. It is characterized by ancient born religion that used rituals to cast away demons and to appease their gods which were carried out by religious priests in the temple known as lamas. (Zhang, 2018).
Rituals are essential when they are meant to celebrate everyday events that bring communities and people together such as rituals performed during rites of passage. Rituals are not necessary when they are intended to bring harm to people or a community or when conducted against the norms of a given society. Defined rituals teach about proper ethics and the well-being of each and at the same time caring about the welfare of the community. It includes the teaching of human virtues such as trustworthiness love for family and ancestors as well as being an individual of utmost honesty. A Daoist approach focuses of facing life and living it just as it is. It believes in the balance of nature which assumes that one should only be concerned about what is necessary. I prefer the Confucian virtues since the more concentrate on teaching the human ethical values which are the critical pillars of humanity (Ho,1995)
All of the three religions belong to the great doctrine of the Far East. They do not believe in gods such as the one that lives in heaven even though they all teach about the ethical, moral principles expected of every human. It helps to improve the relationship between humanity making them live in harmony.
I have discovered that all the early Eastern philosophies all revolved around molding humanity into a being that would live in harmony, at peace and without oppressing the other beings.
From these philosophies, I have learned that I should make it my goal to make a better world for me and those living around me. I should live a life that will be exemplary to other people.