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Directed by John Halpern, USA, 57min., English
Through the voices of a remarkable collection of internationally recognized personalities, this film spans the past three decades of Buddhism’s contribution to the West.
Featuring in-depth interviews with the Dalai Lama, Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, Dzongzar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, Bernardo Bertolucci, Philip Glass, Melissa Mathison, Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone, and others, revealing the spiritual and cultural roots of this emerging social paradigm.
Filmed in India, Nepal, Tibet, Switzerland, France, Canada, and the USA.
Zen and the West
Directed by Luke Fitch; produced by Chris Hebard, USA, 84min.
NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
Follow along as we travel to Canada, Japan, The Philippines, Europe and the USA, visiting Zen teachers, scientists, politicians, Christians, atheists, and celebrities exploring the questions: What is Zen? What is awakening/enlightenment? Is Zen a religion? How does science view Zen? What does awakening look like in everyday life?
The film is narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Jeremy Irons, and has an appearance by him. It also features Kaz Tanahashi, Joan Halifax, Bernie Glassman (in his last interview before his death), Henry Shukman, and others.
Directed by Qiaoli Wang, China, 79min., in Chinese with English subtitles
NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
Little is known about the enduring and mysterious existence of the music monks of China. Founded in 555 AD and one of the world’s most prominent cultural and musical institutions from the 10th till the 13th centuries, Xiangguo Temple survives and has preserved the roots of Chinese music through the efforts of generations of its monk musicians.
Besides Master Xinguang, the persistent and passionate orchestra conductor Shi Yuande has been one of the key figures in the process. Now it is up to three talented young members of the orchestra to continue the work. Can they be expected to strictly adhere to Buddhist doctrine in these modern times?
Filmed on location at Xiangguo Temple in China.
Visions of a Teacher
Directed by Jaap Verhoeven, Netherlands, 60min.
NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
Filmed on location in Katmandu with noted filmmaker and Tibetan Buddhist teacher Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche (Khyentse Norbu). His fifth feature film, Looking for A Lady with Fangs and A Moustache was produced in Nepal, and tells a story of a Westernized Nepali who’s caught in a life-threatening challenge that only the intervention of a dakini (an energetic being in female form) can resolve.
The director, depicted in the film Words of My Perfect Teacher as a bit of a trickster, is interviewed and observed in production, working on this new film with master cinematographer Ping Bin Lee (The Puppetmaster, Mood for Love).
The Geshe Ma Is Born
Directed by Malati Rao, India, 60min., in English, and Hindi and Tibetan with English subtitles
This is a moving portrait of the first graduating class of Tibetan Buddhist nuns to achieve the Geshe degree (equivalent to a master’s degree in philosophy). While there still is no path to ordination for Tibetan nuns, the Geshe degree program is a major step forward.
The Dalai Lama is interviewed extensively on the subject, and is very articulate and nuanced here. Filmed on location at Kopan Monastery in India. A co-production with the Dalai Lama’s Foundation for Universal Responsibility.
Bon and the West
Directed by Andrea Heckman, USA, 91min.
In the ancient Himalayas there existed a kingdom known as Zhang Zhung, whose Bön religion has continued and is recognized as a core tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
Today at Menri Monastery in Northern India and Triten Norbutse in Kathmandu Nepal, young monks and nuns carry on the Bön teachings and lineage, which include the Dzogchen practices. Western students now embrace Bön practices for finding compassion and joy amidst the technological and often chaotic world.
Beautifully filmed on location in Virginia, Poland, Mexico, and Dolpo.
Directed by Marc Wennberg, USA, 70min., in English, and Tibetan with English subtitles
Precious Guru offers a vivid portrait of the life, times, and legacy of “the second Buddha,” Padmasambhava, the 8th century Indian yogi who carried Buddhism over the Himalayas into Tibet.
In contrast to Shakyamuni, the first Buddha, Padmasambhava was not an ascetic monk, rather more a wild man who had many lovers, as well as a magician who was said to have had a miraculous birth, subdued demons, and bound them to the Buddhist teachings, enabling the conversion of Tibet to Buddhism. Beneath the tales of his exploits lies a radically relevant truth: the darker the times, the greater the potential for transformation. He is also known as Guru Rinpoche, or "Precious Guru.” His consort, Yeshe Tsogyal, is widely revered.
Filmed on location in India, Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, and Mongolia.
Featuring Drukmo Gyal Dakini
Drukmo Gyal Dakini brings to you a selection of mantras from the Buddhist and medical traditions of her homeland Tibet, combined with her pure voice and soaring melodies that guide the listener into a state of deep awareness and connection. Mantra healing is the practice of using sound and vibration as a healing medium. It is a powerful method for opening the heart, energy channels, and mind.
Featuring Sharon Salzberg
Sharon Salzberg explores what can sustain us, even in times of anxiety and loss, what helps us align with our deepest values, and what supports us in contributing to the well-being of others. She looks at timeless wisdom and time-tested methods that help us to be more centered, balanced and resilient as we seek to transform ourselves and the world.
Featuring Rev. angel Kyodo williams
In the era of mindfulness everywhere and instant teachers Instagramming, it is easy and tempting to imagine that meditation, that practice, is something special. It's actually no big deal. Rev. angel describes a 3-part practice using coffee(!) to get us to wake up to how meeting our experience directly is extraordinary enough.
Featuring Matthieu Ricard
Matthieu Ricard discusses the relationship of humans to other living species, asserting that compassion and respect for all beings, including our fellow animals, is a moral obligation and the direction toward which any enlightened society must aspire. He calls for a change in the culture to eliminate unnecessary suffering, improve the quality of life for all sentient beings, and benefit the planet.
Featuring Tara Brach
Tara Brach looks at how crisis triggers our survival brain, while it also provides an opportunity to evolve our consciousness. She offers RAIN (Recognize, Allow, Investigate, Nurture) as a tool for shifting from react to respond…both in working with ourselves and others.
Featuring Stephen Batchelor
Stephen Batchelor shares his experience venturing deeply into solitude while on sabbatical, a practice integral to meditative traditions. Meditation, spiritual practice, making art, and training himself to keep an open, questioning mind have all contributed to his ability to be simultaneously alone and at ease, staying openhearted and enjoying the inescapable solitude that is at the heart of human life.
Featuring Andrew Holecek
The Nocturnal Meditations are little known in the West, but they hold unparalleled opportunities for psychological and spiritual growth. This presentation will introduce you to these remarkable practices, and the daytime meditations that support them. Previously tucked under the blanket of secrecy, these leading edge “dark” meditations, now coming to light, can literally add years of consciousness to your life.
Featuring Rick Hanson
The deepest roots of happiness are in the living body. At the intersection of modern science and ancient wisdom – which could be called neurodharma – we can find very effective tools for resilient well-being. Join Dr. Rick Hanson for a practical and experiential exploration of brain-savvy ways to grow lasting happiness and inner peace.
Featuring Robert A.F. Thurman
One of the Buddha’s insights into reality was its blissful, interconnected nature. Robert Thurman re-introduces the historical Buddha as the social revolutionary and founder of scientifically-based, world-transforming institutions that his contemporaries saw him as.
Featuring Roshi Joan Halifax
Roshi Joan explores integrity, an essential theme of our time. She also talks in depth about what happens when integrity is compromised. She says this can cause us to experience various forms of moral suffering, including moral distress, moral injury, moral outrage and moral apathy. She shows us how we can transform that moral suffering into moral resilience.
Featuring Sylvia Boorstein
The Buddha instructed his son, Rahula to''reflect before, during, and after every action on whether your motivation is the desire to end suffering for yourself and all beings.''
This implies that either your intention is so solidly grounded in your understanding of dukkha, inherent suffering in life, that you cannot misstep without your moral compass sounding an alarm or else you act very, very slowly.
Featuring Dawa Tarchin Phillips
Featuring Dr. Nida Chenagtsang
Dr. Nida Chenagtsang, both a traditionally trained Tibetan medical doctor as well as Buddhist yogic practitioner explains the deep connection between medicine and spirituality and shares simple and practical methods for balancing and transforming body, energy, and mind. Tibetan Medicine, or Sowa Rigpa in Tibetan, meaning the ‘Science of Healing’ is one of the oldest healing sciences in existence. It supports the cultivation of a happy mind along with a healthy body.
Three Western spiritual leaders have an inspiring conversation about the power of love and acceptance.
Featuring Lama Surya Das
The American Lama will share his insights and guidance in meditation practice, chanting and prayer, self-inquiry and what he calls “The Art and Practice of Presencing and Nowness-awareness”. As Tibetan Dzogchen texts say: “Nowness-awareness is the true, un-fabricated Buddha within; one moment of total awareness is one moment of freedom and enlightenment. We are all Buddhas in essence; we only have to recognize our true nature.”
Featuring JoAnna Hardy
When looking at our meditation practice it's helpful to pay attention to how much or how little energy we put into it. Just like our everyday lives, we can over do or under do, putting ourselves in a constant state of imbalance, confusion and burn out. In the Buddhist practice there is a term we use called Wise Effort — that “just-right-spot”. In this talk we will discuss and practice with wise effort and balance, both on and off the cushion.