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I thought "The Matrix" (the first one) was a pretty good movie about Buddhism :-)

eh! just shows how we see things sometimes quite differently. i thought it was about christianity, great film. the two follow ups perhaps the most disappointing of all time

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Little Buddha I have some personal interest in this one. One of my first teachers was a consultant for the Tibetan Buddhist authenticity. His wisdom was completely jettisoned in favour of pandering t

You can watch here on

Documentary about Bikkhuni in Thailand.

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Movie Review - Cave In The Snow

Nun fights gender bias in Buddhism

August 24, 2007

By Jayne Mayne

Rating: ***

Directed by Liz Thompson, with Tenzin Palmo.

It's no secret that throughout history, women's disempowerment has taken many forms.

Within patriarchal culture, access to knowledge has been a primary area where women have come off second best.

In the light of skewed gender dynamics this comes as no surprise, but not many people stop to consider that a respected spiritual tradition such as Buddhism, would apply discriminatory politicking in the delivery of their teachings.

Despite age-old tradition, British-born Tenzin Palmo is questioning this boys-club mentality, and Liz Thompson's Cave in the Snow follows her journey to raise the educational status of nuns within Tibetan Buddhism.

After meeting her guru in India in 1964, Palmo was ordained as one of the first western Tibetan Buddhist nuns.

Her search for perfection saw her isolate herself for 12 years in a remote Himalayan cave.

Here she studied classical Tibetan texts which described complex meditation techniques.

A tenacious student, she faced unimaginable cold, wild animals, near-starvation and avalanches. She grew her own food, and slept in a wooden meditation box, never lying down. Her goal being to gain enlightenment as a woman.

After this epic retreat, Palmo saw that other nuns had little opportunity for deeper study and practice, as many simply became servants for monks

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Her reaction was a vision to build a convent in northern India dedicated to helping women achieve spiritual excellence.

Cave in the Snow is a story of courage and phenomenal persistence.

It is an intimate portrayal of one woman's endeavour to make a difference.

Thompson's film doesn't relay the essence of Buddhist philosophy, or explore profound truths, rather the focus is firmly on Palmo's personal journey and her efforts to bring about change.

The 52-minute documentary features interviews with Palmo herself, a brief sitting with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, and snippets of India.

Palmo is now based at Tashi Jong, Northern India, where she and her helpers have raised enough money to build the nunnery.

There she teaches that mindfulness can be interpreted in two ways: "Concentration, which is narrow and laser-like, or awareness, which is more panoramic."

Traditionally, women are trained to be the void that needs filling, the absence that needs presence.

So for many, it would seem at odds that a woman would actively seek to "go within".

Yet Palmo is intent on facilitating women's passage to attain enlightenment.

Source: Tonight

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Buddha Wild: Monk in a Hut

http://www.buddhawild.com/v20/index.html

This unpretentious small feel good movie provides the opportunity for a group of strict missionary monks to talk about their lives and also celebrate the joy in Asian temple life and Asian culture.

"Now that everywhere you go there’s someone taking a picture or shooting video, it seems the world has become one big scrapbook, with everybody tearing out moments to save for later amid their own tattered recollections and reflections. While increased access to the tools of artistic practice certainly doesn’t make everyone an artist, it does heighten the ability of people to participate, to express their own moments of inspiration. Buddha Wild: Monk in a Hut is an example of something that’s not quite a home movie, but not exactly a professional production either. New Zealand–born actress Anna Wilding spent time traveling Sri Lanka and Thailand, meeting with Buddhist monks and a few Anglo expatriates to explore the tenets of Buddhism and the day-to-day lives of the monks. She gained access to areas of certain Buddhist temples that had never before been captured on film, including a rather cute “date” with a monk (who takes vows of celibacy) inside his modest hut. Wilding’s genuine curiosity about the monks’ beliefs and daily routines, as well as her willingness to ask questions that sometimes make her look like a bit of a dip, gives the film a homespun honesty and sincerity that make it a surprisingly pleasant trip." -- LA Weekly

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I watched the 'spring,summer,fall,winter....spring' one yesterday...

Mahayana in Korea is obviously very different to Theravada here..... the guy has sex whilst a monk... disrobes... then comes back as a monk

don't they have Paraccika offences then? Here he wouldn't be able to re-ordain.

They have the same 4 Parajika rules in the (2) Vinayas used by 'Mahayana' monks. A monk having sex is no longer a monk and cannot re-ordain. But remember this is just a movie however these things obviously do happen, with the monk keeping it a secret.

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Dhammatube:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3270793080622139734

Dhammatube stands for the idea to share short clips of Dhamma-teachings through the internet. Usually these teachings are less than three minutes long so that they can be used before or after work and in breaks to realign the mind, with teachings that one can choose from famous as well as hardly known teachers.

These clips can be played on the computer or easily copied on portable video devices (such as iPods) for use while waiting or being on the road. They can also be easily shown to other people in this way.

Anybody can upload clips of their teachers, so that there could be easily dozens or even hundreds of teachers in there once the project is fully underway.

All these videos in YouTube are uploaded automatically from Veoh.com. You can find us there by using "dhammatube" as the key word in the channel search box. The same clips are also present in Google Video.

For further inquiries please contact us at dhammatube-AT-gmail-DOT-com.

Country: United States

Website: http://dhammatube.googlepages.com

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Amongst White Clouds looks interesting.

"An intimate insider's look at the reclusive Buddhist masters living in scattered retreats dotting China's Zhongnan mountain range. These peaks have reputedly been home to reclusive monks since the time of the Yellow Emperor, some five thousand years ago. It was widely thought that the tradition was all but wiped out, but this remarkable film emphatically and beautifully shows otherwise."

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How to Cook Your Life

Zen priest gives bread-making its rise.

By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

"How to Cook Your Life" is an unexpectedly charming and enlightening film, a documentary that makes the most of the intersection of Zen Buddhism and cooking in the life of Edward Espe Brown.

A Zen priest and chef, Brown is best known as the author of 1970's landmark "The Tassajara Bread Book," a volume that introduced an entire generation to the joys of baking. German director Doris Dörrie took a cooking class from Brown and was captivated enough to want to film his thoughts on connecting the way you cook food with the way you live your life. It was an inspired idea. For besides being an artist with bread, Brown turns out to be a great raconteur with a puckish sense of humor and a sly look in his eye who couldn't be more of a treat to hang out with.

Most of the time.

Neither the director nor Brown shies away from the chef's temper and his other foibles. Shown beginning a class in Austria, he confesses to being "a little excited and a little anxious. 'You've been doing Zen for 40 years and you're anxious, what's your problem?' I'm a human being."

This pleasing candor is a hallmark of Brown, who dates his interest in homemade bread to a visit to an aunt when he was 10. "I wondered, 'What's happened in our culture, what went wrong, that we are eating this manufactured bread?' "

Brown studied Zen under Suzuki Roshi, shown in archival footage, who was a founder of the San Francisco Zen Center and one of the key figures in introducing the practice to this country. When Brown became a chef, Roshi's advice was, " 'When you wash the rice, wash the rice.' Don't go through the motions, don't have stuff on your mind."

These kinds of thoughts recur frequently in Brown's cooking talks. He laments our disconnection from the physical world, the way we "give away our capacity to do things with our hands and our bodies that make us feel human." In cooking, "hands get to be hands, to do something."

Brown's great ability to impart teachings while talking about food means that when the film wanders away from him, as it does from time to time, you wish it wouldn't. He's that engaging a presence, and this lively, thoughtful film shows us why.

"How to Cook Your Life." MPAA rating: PG-13 for brief strong language. Running time: 1 hour, 33 minutes.

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Ajahn Chah's biography is now available on YouTube, narrated by Ajahn Jayasaro - all four hours of it.

"In this series Tan Ajahn Jayasaro tells the life story of Ajahn Cha. Ajahn Jayasaro has researched Ajahn Cha's life for many years and authored an influential , 'official' biography of Ajahn Cha in Thai on request of Thai senior monks which, however, has never been translated into English.

These informal recordings at his hermitage attempt to provide some insights into the origins and development of one of the most influential Buddhist meditation masters of the 20th century who continues to affect the lives of meditators around the world.

We will keep adding clips to this series until April 2008."

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Dhamma Brothers

(2008)

Rated: Not Rated

Runtime: 76 mins

Theatrical Release: Apr 11, 2008 Limited

Synopsis:

East meets West in the Deep South. An overcrowded maximum-security prison—the end of the line in Alabama’s correctional system—is forever changed by the influence of an ancient meditation program. Behind high security towers and a double row of barbed wire and electrical fence dwells a... [More]

East meets West in the Deep South. An overcrowded maximum-security prison—the end of the line in Alabama’s correctional system—is forever changed by the influence of an ancient meditation program. Behind high security towers and a double row of barbed wire and electrical fence dwells a host of convicts who will never see the light of day. But for some of these men, a spark is ignited when it becomes the first maximum-security prison in North America to hold an extended Vipassana retreat, an emotionally and physically demanding course of silent meditation lasting ten days. This film, with the power to dismantle stereotypes about men behind prison bars also, in the words of Sister Helen Prejean (Dead Man Walking), “gives you hope for the human race."

more at http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/dhamma_brothers/#synopsis

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Fire Under The Snow

New York Magazine wrote: "...Gyatso's unwavering faith in the face of horrific circumstances would make for essential viewing in itself, but it couldn't be more relevant now: News coverage that takes you right up through the current global strife over the 2008 Olympics in Beijing bookends his story perfectly."

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Two reviews from a list of The Most Spiritually Affecting Buddhist Movies:

7. The Dhamma Brothers. (Not yet available on DVD.) This recently released documentary ably demonstrates the transformative efficacy of meditation on even the most unlikely candidates. Two teachers of Vipassana, known in America as "insight meditation," teach a nine-day retreat at an Alabama maximum security prison renowned for its harshness and violence. The teachers actually move into the prison, living and sleeping there. They inform the prisoners that the retreat, in which strict silence is required, will be more rigorous and disciplined than their regular schedule. The results are pretty miraculous. The participants find emotional wellsprings opening up, and their descriptions of the experience of intense meditation are extremely moving. Many of these men, who have committed crimes like murder and rape, will never see the outside again, and so the only prison they have a chance to escape is the one the mind creates. They even win over the skeptical guards (one says he has not heard this much silence "since kindergarten"!). With success comes controversy, as the Bible Belt southerners react against the "witchcraft" of the Buddhist converts. With Buddhism take increasing root in America, hopefully we will see more movies like this one about the practical application of a Western brand of the Dharma.

6. Peaceful Warrior. Upon its release, many critics dismissed this as a New Age trifle, but unfortunately they weren't listening and watching closely enough. Take from Dan Millman's incredibly popular book The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, the film tells the semi-autobiographical story of a talented and driven college gymnast (Scott Mechlowicz) who is in a horrific car accident and realizes he may never compete again. Forced to re-evaluate the way he lives, he turns for help to an unusual and mysterious spiritual mentor he calls Socrates (Nick Nolte), whom he met in a gas station. This kind of crisis, in which one must re-examine one's purpose, is familiar to most; however, the kind of advice and wisdom dolled out by Socrates is less conventional and actually quite worthwhile. There are some silly scenes, such as when the mentor does a parlor trick and seemingly teleports himself to the roof of the garage. But what Dan learns - deep acceptance of the changes we cannot control, and equanimity when faced with difficult realities - are authentic lessons, not flaky hokum, and will hold up to the scrutiny of anyone who knows the basics of Zen Buddhism. The teachings mostly center around the complex difficulties involved in doing the most simple thing - being in the present moment.

It is not especially sophisticated stuff, but is philosophically consistent throughout and can serve as an inspiring introduction to Eastern types of thinking. Nolte, always an underrated actor, does a terrific, understated job with a role that could have descended into parody in lesser hands. Three great scenes to watch for: Socrates takes a cue from Jesus when faced with a couple of hoodlums, and surprises the hel_l out of his apprentice; Socrates throws a screaming Dan into a river, and then tells him his name for the experience is "Yaaaaaaaaaaah!"; and Dan sits on the hood of his car for hours literally waiting for some insight, any insight, to arrive.

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MEDITATE AND DESTROY is a feature documentary about punk rock, spirituality, and inner rebellion. This powerful documentary shows how author Noah Levine (Dharma Punx, Against the Stream) uses his personal experience and punk-rock sensibilities to connect with young people within juvenile halls and urban centers around the country. Tattoos, motorcycles, and an engaging punk rock soundtrack are featured in this hardhitting look at how Buddhism has a place in the world of punks.
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Hi There,

I'm the director of "Act Normal" - I've put the film up for free (it's a buddhist film after all), please see the full film here:

***You are not allowed to post a URL.***

My best wishes,

Olaf de Fleur

Hello,

I am trying this link but it doesn't work... Is it only me? :o

T.

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Hi There,

I'm the director of "Act Normal" - I've put the film up for free (it's a buddhist film after all), please see the full film here:

***You are not allowed to post a URL.***

My best wishes,

Olaf de Fleur

Hello,

I am trying this link but it doesn't work... Is it only me? :o

T.

Not at all. I've encountered the same obstacle.

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The Story of India - BBC documentary

This is a great documentary. There are 6 parts of an hour each. Part 2, The Power of Ideas, is primarily about Buddhism up to the time of King Ashoka. Part 1 touches on how Sanskrit has been passed down orally by Brahmins for thousands of years, which IMO supports the idea of reasonably accurate oral transmission of the Pali Canon. Part 3 features a museum full of Buddha images from the Kushan Empire 1st-3rd century that were subsequently smashed to bits by the Taliban.

I'd recommend watching the DVD on a home theatre for the beautiful photography but it's available on youtube too: http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=4AdGwaeX0Io

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Unmistaken Child

By Andrew O'Hehir

Salon.com

No aspect of Tibetan Buddhism is as well-known, or seems quite as mythological to outsiders, as the faith's apparently literalistic belief in reincarnation. Taken as a whole, Buddhism is such a diverse and wide-ranging religion that it very nearly lacks any central doctrines or dogmas. Many Buddhists could be called nontheistic or even atheistic, and the widespread Buddhist belief in reincarnation takes many different forms. To some Zen Buddhists, for example, reincarnation is primarily a metaphor or a folkloric remnant.

But within the Tibetan Buddhist world, as we saw in Martin Scorsese's powerful drama about the young Dalai Lama, "Kundun" -- and as we now see in Israeli filmmaker Nati Baratz's remarkable, vérité-style documentary "Unmistaken Child" -- reincarnation is unmistakably real. That is, belief in reincarnation is unmistakably real. What are we actually seeing in Baratz's film, when we watch a group of middle-aged monks identify a 2-year-old from a Nepalese mountain village as the "unmistaken child," a newly reborn version of Geshe Lama Konchog, a world-famous Tibetan teacher who died in 2001? Like most Western, non-Buddhist viewers, I'm not quite sure, although I definitely incline toward a cultural or psychological explanation.

Over the course of "Unmistaken Child," the reincarnation of Lama Konchog becomes vividly clear to everyone in the story, including the child himself, but most of all to Tenzin Zopa, the impish, emotional, free-spirited monk who is Baratz's central focus. Tenzin Zopa, who looks to be around 30 when the film begins, was Lama Konchog's most intimate disciple from the time he was 7 years old. Left heartbroken by his teacher's death, he is now charged by the Dalai Lama with the responsibility of finding Lama Konchog's reincarnation among the recently born children of Nepal and northern India. (This movie and its subjects do not venture across the border into Chinese-controlled Tibet, or at least if they do they don't tell us about it.)

There have been any number of movies about Tibet and its esoteric Buddhist tradition over the past decade or two, largely connected to worldwide concern over the Chinese government's conduct in Tibet and the worldwide popularity of the Dalai Lama, the country's exiled religious and political leader. "Unmistaken Child" stands above most others in offering us an intimate look at Tibetan Buddhism in action, with no external commentary or narration. Tenzin Zopa, a puckish, lighter-than-air presence who speaks English well, is our only guide through this supernal landscape of rugged mountains and lush valleys, wearing Nikes, a North Face fleece jacket and his saffron monk's robe as he travels from village to village -- sometimes by helicopter -- searching for potential reincarnated lamas in the guise of goop-faced, rotund toddlers.

This approach may lead to more questions than answers, but it's definitely an ingenious way of handling the film's epistemological problems. Practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism will presumably watch the remarkable scene when Tenzin Zopa's selected child correctly identifies the rosary, prayer bell and hand drum used by Lama Konchog and nod: This is the right kid. Others of us may wonder about the not-so-subtle cues the child is offered during the ceremony, or speculate that he has been coached on which objects to choose. One way of interpreting "Unmistaken Child" is as a deeply ingrained exercise in cultural suggestion, one that a bright, imaginative child can quickly understand and elaborate upon. Be that as it may, the kid believes it as much as the adults do. When the little boy points to a picture of himself next to a picture of the late Lama Konchog and says, "That's me. And that's me. Those are both me," it's an amazing moment.

Now, I'm not so sure the kid in "Unmistaken Child" understands that this revelation or role-playing game or whatever it is will determine the course of the rest of his life. "Being" the reincarnated lama gets him and his parents a lot of attention. It also means that he will be taken from them, have his head shaved, and be raised by monks as a kind of protected prodigy in a secluded Nepalese monastery. His life will be devoted to saving all sentient beings from suffering and transmitting the ancient traditions of Tibetan Buddhism in a fast-changing world, and I don't dispute the value of those things. What we see at the end of Baratz's beautiful and enigmatic film, however, is a little boy crying because his mother has left him with strangers.

http://www.salon.com/ent/movies/btm/featur.../06/unmistaken/

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For another take on Unmistaken Child see the article Buddhism can't be this bad, can it?

The child is taken from his parents (with their permission, but of course, they've been pressured in so many subtle and not-so-subtle ways.) The pain in their faces is heart-wrenching.

But the story is disturbing for other reasons. I never realized before seeing this film how much "god worship" there is in Buddhism, the gods being little humans who are chosen reincarnates (and of course there is plenty of worship of the older Lamas.)

In the eyes of these masses, I saw the sort of adulation that I recall from my Catholic upbringing, the kind I thought was reserved for the Vatican and the Pope.

I thought the point of Buddhism was the elimination of ego. I thought the commitment was to here and now enlightenment through meditation. I never realized the level of fanaticism of some of the monks, the obsession they have to find the reincarnated form of Lama "egos" that have passed away.

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