Margot Robbie’s Revelation: Barbie Takes Inspiration from the Enlightened Life of Buddha

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Margot Robbie Says Barbie Draws Inspiration from Buddha’s Journey

The “hero’s journey” has become a well-known narrative pattern in movies, and for the upcoming Barbie film, lead actress Margot Robbie reveals that director Greta Gerwig wanted to incorporate elements from the life of Buddha. Gerwig made it clear from the start that she not only wanted Barbie’s story to follow the hero’s path, but also draw inspiration from one of the most significant religious figures.

The Life of Buddha

Sidarta Gautama, also known as the Buddha, was an ancient Indian spiritual leader and philosopher who founded Buddhism. Born into a royal family in Lumbini (now Nepal), he enjoyed a life of luxury. However, when Gautama witnessed human suffering, he relinquished his princely life in search of spiritual enlightenment. After years of meditation and renunciation, he achieved enlightenment under a Bodhi tree, earning him the title of “the enlightened one” or Buddha. He discovered the Four Noble Truths, the foundation of Buddhism, which encompass the truth of suffering, the cause of suffering, the end of suffering, and the path to cessation of suffering.

Buddha spent the rest of his life teaching others about the Dharma (Buddhist teachings) and establishing a community of monks and nuns. His teachings continue to guide millions of people worldwide.

Greta Gerwig’s Vision for Barbie

Margot Robbie, in a recent interview with Comic Book, shared that Greta Gerwig had a clear vision for the Barbie film. Robbie stated that Gerwig described Barbie’s journey as similar to Buddha’s journey towards enlightenment. Although unconventional, Robbie agreed that it was a unique and exciting perspective that only Gerwig would have. Robbie mentioned that Gerwig had been reading “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” by Joseph Campbell, which influenced her approach to Barbie as a hero figure.

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The Hero’s Journey and Buddha

The hero’s journey, popularized by Joseph Campbell, is a narrative pattern often seen in mythology, literature, and film. Buddha’s life and teachings align with this pattern remarkably well. The journey begins with the “call to adventure,” which for Buddha was encountering human suffering and subsequently leaving his royal life behind. His initiation phase involves years of meditation and renunciation, leading to his enlightenment under the Bodhi tree.

The culmination of the hero’s journey is the “return” phase, where the hero goes back to their original world, transformed by their experiences. In Buddha’s life, this occurs after his enlightenment. He returns not as a prince but as a spiritual teacher sharing his wisdom and the Dharma with others. While there is no direct connection established by Campbell, Buddha’s journey from luxury to renunciation, the pursuit of truth, enlightenment, and teaching, embodies the hero’s arc that continues to be a central component of many stories.

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