Limiting Baggage on "The Darjeeling Limited"

by Shen Shi'an, The Buddhist Channel, Jan 15, 2008

Dharma-Inspired Movie Review:

Singapore -- In the movie “The Darjeeling Limited”, three brothers go on a spiritual quest in India to find their mother and to regain their brotherly bonds.

Sometimes, the best place to “find” yourself and someone else you are with is to get thoroughly lost together in a foreign land.

As repeated by one of the brothers with ominous “spiritual” effect when the train they were on got lost by going on a wrong track, “We are not located yet.”

Throughout the show, they lug along a number of bags in different sizes, but all with the same distinct design.

This is probably a metaphor for the presence of their emotional baggage. The same design alludes to the baggage having similar nature (based on attachment, aversion and delusion - the three poisons, according to Buddhism), though different in manifestation. We never know what's exactly in the luggage, but they carry them around with considerable difficulty.

On their journey, the trio did not really learn any spectacular spiritual lesson, though they kind of bummed along and experienced a bunch of “random” misadventures that helped to bond them. They found their mother too, who had become a nun. She was already happily living her life as a continual spiritual lesson. As an accidental spiritual undertaking, they learn to make peace with “losing her”, by letting go of attachment to wanting her back with them.

At the end of the journey, while chasing a train to board it for home, they abandon their bags in the last stretch of a “crazy” sprint. Relinquishing attachment to the bags, they were able to jump on board in the nick of time. So glad were they that they made it, that they simply smiled, with no sense of loss. It must be liberating indeed, dropping off unneeded baggage you have been clinging too for so long - with utterly wild abandon.