With LITTLE BUDDHA, Bernardo Bertolucci brings his epic style to bear on the life of Siddhartha, the founder of Buddhism, intertwining biography with a fictional tale about a modern-day child believed to be the reincarnation of a revered teacher. Told with simplicity and evident sincerity,
the film seeks gently to introduce mass audiences to the philosophy of Buddhism.
Lama Norbu (Ying Ruocheng), an aging teacher at a Buddhist monastery in Bhutan, is summoned to Seattle by a fellow monk, Kenpo Tenzin (Sogyal Rinpoche). Kenpo has had a dream suggesting that nine-year-old Jesse Conrad (Alex Wiesendanger) is the reincarnation of the monks' late, beloved teacher,