Like many others, I’m a big fan of Lost. Unfortunately my wife has gotten into it, too, which means I have to translate the difficult international accents for her, since the show seems to be tailor-made to torture Japanese ESL learners. In a recent episode, the character Jack had to give something of his father’s to another character in order to accomplish a goal, and this made my wife observe, “Wow, this is just like Buddhism.” (In this case the idea is katami, possessions of a person who has died which are distributed to his friends later.) Yes, the producers of Lost do seem to enjoy adding “pop Buddhist” themes to the story, such as the Dharma Initiative, the mysterious organization doing experiments on the island, which J-List readers will recognize as Daruma, the famous famous red statues that represent the Buddhist monk who meditated for so long that his arms and legs atrophied and disappeared. Then there’s the computer with a button that must be pushed every 108 minutes to keep the world from ending. The number 108 is quite important in Buddhism, representing the 108 sins that a person must overcome in order to reach Nirvana, and on New Year’s Eve the temple bells are rung 108 times. Interesting tidbit: in India, the number you call when you have an emergency is…108!
The producers of Lost are fond of adding Buddhist themes to the show.