Little Buddha starts with a Buddhist monk, Lama Norbu, going to Seattle in search of
Jesse Conrad, a boy who Lama Norbu believes may be the reincarnation of Lama Norbusold teacher, Lama Dorje. Lama Norbu and his fellow monks find jesse and his family, and
after an awkward first meeting gives jesse a book called Little Buddha, which is read to
him over the course of the movie to teach him the history and basic points of Buddhism.
We get to watch what is being read to Jesse, so there is a movie of Buddha inside a movie
of Buddhism. Jesse starts making trips to the Monastery to learn more about the monks
and their practice. During his time in the monastery, Lama Norbu reads parts of the book
to jesse. We learn about the birth of Siddhartha Gautama as a prince who was destined
by the stars to be great. We learn how his father sheltered him from everything that had
the potential to disturb him, and how he finally, when he was a teenager, discoveredsuffering, poverty, old age, and death. We learn about how he left the palace with a goal
to end suffering, and how he became an ascetic.
Finally, after hearing a man telling his music pupil about how the string of an instrument
has to be in the middle ground between being too tight and snapping and being too loose
to play, Siddhartha realizes that the path to enlightenment lies in the Middle Way, or
whatever the middle ground is between any two extremes.