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According to Buddhist philosophy ‘Asmimānaya’ is the deep-seated and sometimes subtle idea of “Me, Mine, or I am” that is tied up with the Pancha Upādānaskhandha*, sometimes called the ‘Five Clinging-Khandas’ which refers to a grouping of mental and material factors associated with the senses of the human body which change from moment to moment, arising as long as there is the cause, and ceasing when there is none. The “I” that exists due to ‘Asmimānaya’ results in the view, an ignorant and confused view, that “I” exists separate from the external “world”. Commonly held views dictate this to be “reality”. The perception caused by ‘Asmimānaya’ is that “I and this world” have existed in the past, are interacting in the present and will continue on into the future as well. In Buddhism, this idea of identifying the self as existing in an unbroken continuum is known as Sakkaya Dittiya*. 

The theme, concept and structure of this film along with the context it is set in and its creative content are tied closely to these concepts of “existence, the world and I” as present in Buddhist philosophy. Therefore the “reality” that is built upon the logical reasonings on time and space is explored from a different perspective via the film.

The characters in the film represent the characteristic threefold nature of ‘Asmimānaya’; “me, mine and I am”. These three forms are presented in a dynamic way throughout the film.  Sometimes the very thing that is perceived as me is perceived as mine, and at times the interactions surrounding the “existing me” are seen to be dynamic and transitory. This is the nature of Asmimānaya. It can be understood to some extent by observing the ever-changing quality of the instances in which we think “my hand” or “my leg” in how we make the distinctions between “I” and “my”; we think “I am running”, but never think “my legs are running”. These aren’t merely conventions in language, but demonstrate how we accept certain “realities” that are conventionally agreed upon. We view “me” and the “world external to me”, even though there is no fixed definition of this, as one can see that it continually shifts.

There is something fundamentally erroneous in perceiving something that doesn’t exist, as something that is real. In the concept of “me”, or of “existence” or of the idea that a “world exists outside of the self”, we see the results of the same cause.

The clinging to the notion of a self, or of a personality as an entity on its own, in which instance we see things as “me” and the very next moment as “mine” causes us to view the self as being separate from the rest of the world. This incongruent view of a self which causes the notions of “me, mine and I am” causes our interactions with the outside world, such as love, affection and attachment to be ultimately rooted in selfishness, ill will and ignorance which assuredly leads to the confusion inherent in our being. This film hopes to explore this aspect of existence in human nature.


The philosophical content and Buddhist perspectives mentioned above provided a framework for developing this creation from its initial form of a  monologue to a feature-length film.  Here the influence of Buddhist sutras, particularly their narrative structure and the manner in which they convey meaning, including certain techniques like repetition, stating the same point from many different angles, revealing that one thing can have many different aspects or analyzing how many different forms represent a single aspect have inspired an attempt to add a new narrative style to the existing language of film. Here a great deal of attention has been paid to the symbolic meanings held within the characters, dialogues, and visual setting of this work.

The basic structure of the film has been conceptualized through the evolution of each character. A single character is presented from differing perspectives and rather than taking on a fixed form, characters behave symbolically and take on multiple forms according to the differing contexts in which they exist. That is the reason that the film language needs to go beyond the perspective of the linear flow of “reality” based on time and space.

As symbols, the thick rainforest, the empty plains and the lone tree, along with the meanings represented by the well, the sea, the rivers and the world outside of the characters also take on multiple meanings in various contexts. However, these varying meanings are centred around, and represent, ultimately, the various facets of a single concept.  A case in point would be the rainforest in the film, whilst made up of the ‘Sathara-mahā-dāthun‘* or the ‘Four Basic Elements’* and being a representative of the physical world, is also, in varying contexts, a symbol generating varied meanings; these include ‘Pancha Upādāna Skhandha‘*, the ‘Five Clinging Khandas’*, our non-material internal world, Samsara, existence, the clinging of greed, ignorance and delusion.

The film discusses the nature of ‘Asmimānaya’ (me, mine, I am ) through several angles:

As a concept applied to our physical body. Through the ignorance of ‘Asmimānaya’ (me, mine, I am ), self-harm can escalate up to the point of suicide.

As a concept applied to our consciousness. The grip of Asmimānaya (me, mine, I am ), which is tied up with our thoughts, feelings, and contemplations does not loosen its grip even at the time of the death of our physical body.

As a concept applied to time- the past, present, and future. When the delusion of a solid and stable self that is caused by ‘Asmimānaya’ ( I was, I am, I will be) is overcome, the conventional reality of space and time breaks down, revealing an “ultimate reality” that exists beyond self and existence.

Here it is shown that the self and the world are not separate entities, but rather one and the same. From this position, it is apparent that each provides the causes and conditions required for the existence of the other, in a process that generates this becoming in each moment.