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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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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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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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