Buddha said that all compounded phenomena are not permanent. Compounded phenomena refer to all things that are formed by causes and conditions, including things made by mankind and things that exist in nature. Impermanence refers to the fact that all things come and go: nothing can avoid destruction after its creation and nothing can avoid ruination after its formation. Essentially, this destruction and creation is happening at the same time. That is to say the tragedy of Titanic started the moment passengers started boarding this ship. No matter how rich those people who bought the first class tickets were, or how poor those people like Jack Dawson were, who can only depend on good luck to win a third class ticket on gambling, they were all boarding with each of their own individual desires.
Life is like gambling and there is no final winner on this gambling at all. When Jack Dawson won that ticket, he was extremely happy, screaming like a champion: "I'm going to America! I go to America to be millionaire. I'm the king of the world!" Who would have imagined that he was boarding onto the ship of death. Certainly, the ticket was the summons of death. The loser of the bet thought he was so unfortunate that he has lost the chance to board the magnificent Titanic. But in reality, he was the big winner - and his gambling actually saved his life from tragedy.
Furthermore, the tragedy was started by Andrew's design. If he hadn't designed and built the ship, how could the tragedy have happened? If the ship wasn't made that grand in scale, how would so many people died at the same time in the tragedy?
The designer of Titanic, Mr. Andrews said to Rose with repentance at the end: "I'm sorry that I didn't build you a stronger ship, young Rose." Mr. Andrews shouldn't take all the blames, because there is no such thing as an unsinkable ship. Mankind cannot make it and even God cannot make it as well. Being called Noah's ark, the earth itself is a ship roaming in the ocean of the universe and it's now been riddled with gaping wounds, with great peril everywhere. Surrounded by uncountable large and small icebergs of stars, no one knows when the final catastrophe will come. At that time, what better luck will all beings on earth have than those people who died on Titanic?
Those who are bold visionaries may think that humankind can escape to Mars in spacecrafts when the massive earth destruction comes. Even though they can really make the spacecrafts, it's only for a few amount of wealthy and powerful people. The general public won't have that good luck. At least, even if all humans could migrate to Mars, it would not be a certainty that Mars could exist forever in the universe.
"A sand is an entire world." The material world is a collection of particles. Its nature of uncertainty can be seen through the uncertainty of one particle. Titanic is "a particle of the universe". It shows the universe's nature of impermanence, suffering, emptiness and no-self. Called the unsinkable Titanic, the largest ship at the time was made of metal by high-tech, but it sank just 4 days after its departure during the maiden voyage.
Holding onto each individual's hopes, the exited people on the ship felt like they were in heaven. Falling in love, Jack and Rose stood on the bow, facing the sea with gold color. Rose shouted: "I'm flying." People were all indulging in the life of luxury and the lures of desires, hoping that life could last forever like a permanent heaven. But this pleasure is not an exception from impermanence, in that it was soon suddenly replaced by the greatest of fears and suffering. The God of destiny suddenly threw people from heaven into hell. Life is suffering. It can be seen from the fears and sufferings of death; it can be seen through Rose's repressed feelings under the system and the "ethical code" that ruined her personality; it can be seen through Rose's great pain that she and Jack had to be separated in life and death; it can be seen through Cal's frustration and embarrassment that he couldn't earn Rose's love with the costly Heart of The Ocean; and it can be seen through the poor third class passengers, who endured the discrimination and insults from wealthy people.
"Self" has the meaning of domination. But mankind has no control at all over natural disasters and death. The only thing they can do is to scream "help! Anyone can help? Someone help up!" Even if God exists, human beings would have been greatly disappointed by God's ignorance.
The preoccupation that money and power are omnipotent is worthless in the face of death. Wealthy Cal wanted to save his life with money, but wasn't successful. Then he picked up a lost girl saying he was all she had in the world and got onto a life raft, fighting to live. He has made it, but couldn't make another one. Several years later he committed suicide after the stock market crash of '29.
The deeper the love, the more intense the pain. Rose strove for survival and she succeeded. But we can imagine the mental sufferings that she had to get through were possibly more severe than death.
The people on Titanic experienced a nightmare of life and death. By means of motion pictures and extraordinary story telling, the movie brings audiences into the world of illusion, which is inherently illusionary. Life is illusion. Sufferings and happiness are impermanent. But how many people can awake from this dream, seeing the truth through illusion? That must be the reason why Bodhisattva Ssadapralapa was crying so often.
It's not that important weather or not the people in the movie were true people in history. But this movie indeed has deeply shown the very nature of this impermanent world and the sufferings and emptiness of life. This is the inspiration that the movie can give to audiences.
The best Buddhist teaching material is not those boring, empty and tasteless theoretical texts. Instead, it should be more real life, full of conflicts and sufferings. So, I think rather than read deep and difficult conceptual theories, it would be a better way to learn by watching excellent movies like Titanic, which is rich in inspiring philosophy. It would be much more intuitive and profound to immersively experience the impermanence, suffering, and emptiness of life.