Seven Pounds is another movie in my top ten list of Buddhist theme movies. This movie brings to mind the activities of a bodhisattva. A bodhisattva is defined as someone that has bodhichitta. And bodhichitta is the wish to become totally enlightened for the benefit of all sentient beings. One of the activities of a bodhisattva is the perfecting generosity. Generosity is perfected when one gives without self-concern at all.
Although Will Smith is not motivated by bodhichitta, his role in this movie reminds me of the following quote from Master Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life.
To begin with, Buddha, the Guide, encourages us to practice giving such things as food.
Later, when we become used to this, we can gradually learn to give our own flesh.
This may seem a little startling, but there are many stories of bodhisattva’s being asked to give of themselves and they do so without hesitation. Indeed, one story of Buddha’s past lives has him coming upon a starving tiger and her cubs. He sacrificed himself in order to save their lives. Since the mother was too weak to eat, he first cut himself and fed her his blood so that she would become stronger. Then he offered her his entire body and his life. It is said that the cubs reincarnated and became his first disciples after his enlightenment.
In the movie, Will Smith gives up “seven pounds” of body parts in order to save people in need. It is an interesting movie to stimulate thought regarding the practice of extreme generosity.