Kung Fu Panda 2 Chloe stewart-living color

Introduction

The story of Kung Fu Panda 2 dates back to ancient China. The film opens with the legend of a peacock named Shem who was imprisoned after trying to destroy the panda population, in order to avoid fulfilling his prophesied defeat at the hands of a “black and white” warrior. Switching back to current day, Po the Panda (AKA the dragon warrior of prophecy), is a fun loving panda who was raised by his adoptive father- a goose who had tried to hide his adoption from him. However one day Po starts experiencing flashbacks of his past with his biological parents. Po decides to depart on a double mission in order to stop Shem from overthrowing China and also to find out more about his own past.

An Immersive Journey Through China (By way of Hollywood)

Many of you probably remember seeing Kung Fu Panda 2 when it was first released in 2011. You probably recall it as a silly comedy sequel that you saw in the theater and quickly forgot.

I can assure you that seeing this film after studying ancient Chinese religions and philosophies is an entirely different experience. In fact, the entire plot of the film takes on a different story. This is not a story about a good guy beating a bad guy, but rather a quest for inner peace and building a deeper connection with his ancestors. It is a story about living life true to the principles of Confucius and the Tao. And for those of us who have been reading the Dao de Jing on paper, this film brings to life the marvelous colors, architecture and topography of ancient China.

You should be warned that by watching this film you will likely want to take a trip to Jing Fong restaurant, given all the delicious looking dumplings that feature throughout the film and which seem to be a source of power for Po

The Tao of Kung Fu Panda 2

Po = Pooh = Pu.

Po is the pure essence of the uncarved block - at peace with his natural state, a hero who triumphs because of his self-acceptance and flow. He is the Taoist ideal who has been taught and instructed by Master Shifu, who strives to live accordinting to Taoist and Confucian ideals. Throughout the film, there are many references to the yin and yang symbol, and of course Po himself embodies the yin and yang with his black and white fur.

Confucianism in Kung Fu Panda 2

The fundamental struggle in KFP2 is the quest for inner peace, which is a Taoist ideal that also combines elements of Confucianism. In the film, Po is only able to defeat Shem once he achieves inner peace. In order to achieve inner peace, Po needs to relive and come to terms with his earliest memories, which are quite painful for him. He also needs to reconnect with his parents and ancestors, through the realization that his true father in fact is not a noodle-cooking goose. By embracing the Confucian ideals of ancestor worship and self-awareness and humane-ness, Po is able to master the power to defeat the strongest of enemies. Shem does not have inner peace and is ultimately destroyed by his own weapon as a result.

The Legacy of Kung Fu Panda 2

Conclusion

I enjoyed watching Kung Fu Panda 2 as much as I enjoyed reading The Tao of Pooh. The film brings ancient Chinese philosophy to life in a fast paced, colorful and funny story. Once you understand the principles of Daoism and Confucianism, the film is far more enjoyable and thought provoking then if you view it simply as an animated comedy. As Shifu notes in the film in his final words to Po before they set off to confront Shem, "Anything is possible when you have inner peace." I highly recommnend this film, especially if you are prepared to accompany it with some self-reflection, meditation and a large bowl of dumplings.

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