Jump to content

Movies About Buddhism

Recommended Posts

  • 3 weeks later...
  • Replies 178
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

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.

Posted Images

The 1967 TV series 'The Prisoner' is often said to contain Buddhist themes, although the producer/director/star Patrick McGoohan refused to comment on his intentions.

A remake/recasting of the series premieres in November 2009. From the preview clips, it appears the philosophical underpinnings of 'The Prisoner' are more sharply outlined in the new version.





Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...
What about this film about ladyboys and buddhism?

Now thats thailand!

Not really. Whoever made this film is seriously confused about Thai Buddhism and culture. For example, they say:

Inter-cut within the film is Dr Preecha, the worlds greatest sexual reassignment surgeon performing colon transposition for vagina, and the illuminating exploration of what Buddhism refers to as Yab Yum or 'both both,' the Buddhist belief that the supreme entity is non-dualistic thus forging the androgynous psychology of Thailand's contemporary Buddhist society.

...we meet more identical twin hermaphrodites Jep and Jane who speak about the fluid psychology Buddhism has forged in Thailand, the land of the free. A film exploring the fixed ideas of monotheism, non duality and the flux which interconnects us to the great mystery.

The organization behind it is something to do with shamanism and "Helping tribal communities resist development, build networks, fight for human rights and resist conversation [sic] to the christian faith." Yab Yum is from Tibetan Buddhism and there is no "supreme entity" in Thai Buddhism. But never let the facts get in the way of a good movie about ladyboys. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...
seven years in tibet

My thai buddhist girlfriend reckons the buddhist are stupid in this movie as they love animals, says it all about thailand really

Well, it may tell us something about your girlfriend. You can't generalize about 65 million people from one comment.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

The TV series "Monkey" is really good fun i absoloutely adored it as a child and its still funny to this day. It is based on a book and the book is based on a real person. Hs En Tsang traveled to India in AD 629 to collect Buddhist scriptures. Excellent one for kids if not adults.


In this clip Monkey pees on Buddhas hand :)


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

2nd Bangkok International Buddhist Film Festival

January 11th - 27th, 2010

Thammasat University

The Bangkok International Buddhist Film Festival, produced by John Solt of Highmoonoon, began last year with a dozen movies over a three week period. Each was followed by lively discussion and featured distinguished guests such as Venerable Bhikkhuni Dhammananda, Amarjiva Lochan, and Satyasheel Gautam.

This year the festival continues its theme of the movie portrayal of Buddhist monks and nuns in exactly the same format, and guests this year include Venerable Hyaedan Sunim from the Bangkok Zen Centre, Ven. W. Piyaratana, Ven. Maitree Moorthi and, again, Venerable Bikkhuni Dhammananda, among others.

I think I attended almost every film last time, and though I won't be able to do the same again this year, I'm certainly looking forward to spending as much time there as I can, enjoying both the screenings (in the excellent Thammasat facilities) and the friendly and fascinating conversations afterwards. See you there.

Monday 11 Jan- Japan

The Burmese Harp, 1956

Tuesday 12 Jan - Korea

Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?, 1989

(with special guest, the senior nun from the Bangkok Zen Centre)

Wednesday 13 Jan - Korea

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring, 2004

Friday 15 Jan - China

Amongst White Clouds: Buddhist Hermit Masters of China’s Zongnan Mountains, 2005

Friday 15 Jan - Vietnam

Peace Is Every Step—Meditation in Action: The Life & Work of Thich Nhat Hanh, 1997

Monday 18 Jan - Bhutan

The Cup, 2000

Tuesday 19 Jan - Bhutan

Travelers and Magicians, 2004

Wednesday 20 Jan - Tibet

Wheel of Time, 2003

Friday 22 Jan - Germany

Siddhartha, 1972

Monday 25 Jan - Germany

Enlightenment Guaranteed, 2002

Alternate Spiritualities

Tuesday 26 Jan - France

Into Great Silence: Inside the Famed Carthusian Monastery, 2005

Wednesday 27 Jan - USA

Bill’s Mountain, 2009


Pridi Banomyong Library

Thammasat University

Tha Phra Chan campus

Chao Phraya River


All showings are from 1:30-4:00 p.m.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I've just ordered the following documentary Dhamma Dana:

Myanmar (Burma) is home to one of the most peaceful spiritual traditions in the world: Theravada Buddhism. In the Theravada tradition, which is followed by 90% of Burmese people, peace and freedom are not pursued externally. Instead the Theravada Buddhists find freedom within themselves. Originating from the Buddha’s 2500 year-old teachings, the path to inner liberation is propagated by the Sangha: the community of ordained monks and nuns. Over 5% of Burmese people are members of the Sangha. In order to materially survive, the Sangha relies on Sangha Dana: the offerings given by lay devotees. It is by the merit of Sangha Dana that the order of monks and nuns can continue to recompense the generosity with Dhamma Dana: the sacred gift of the Buddha’s teachings.

Filmed entirely in Myanmar, Dhamma Dana delves deep into the Golden Land’s monastic tradition and reveals how the Burmese Buddhists find inner freedom. The film presents the Dhamma with a serene rhythm; documenting a powerfully peaceful ancient tradition that few experience first hand.

Dr Molini, a Burmese nun and avid social worker, provides the experience and guiding light to tell the story of how the Burmese preserve and propagate their unique tradition. In Dhamma Dana, she illuminates the heartwarming effort of a people who transcend the influence of modern times in order to uphold the ancient tradition of Theravada Buddhism.

Filmmaker Theodore Martland had to meet with the Burmese Ambassador’s second secretary in India, Khin Aye Kyi Than, file his itinerary with the Burmese military government, and apply to the Burmese Ministry of Religious Affairs for official documents that would allow him to enter the country and film. It is rare for westerners, Americans especially, to be able to travel to Myanmar. The US only started to re-allow travel to the country a few months before he went. With only a 26-day visa he continuously filmed as much of the Golden Land’s Buddhist culture as he could. Living in monasteries and meditation centers; traveling by pick-up truck, open-air trains, and on the roofs of buses; the longest he stayed in one place was 3 days.

Running Time: 30 minutes


Link to post
Share on other sites
It is rare for westerners, Americans especially, to be able to travel to Myanmar. The US only started to re-allow travel to the country a few months before he went.

Looks like a very interesting film. However it's not true that the US only recently started to allow travel to Myanmar. It has always been allowed, AFAIK, ie, there were never travel sanctions. I know Americans who have been to the country dozens of times beginning as far back as the early 70s and continuing to the present.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

The BBC documentary (actually more of a docudrama, with actors), The Life of Buddha, is currently available on DVD at Mangpong outlets in Bangkok for 89 baht. The 50-minute video version is also available for free viewing on youtube.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In the shadow of Buddhism

By Parinyaporn Pajee

The Nation

Published on February 18, 2010

After three years of discussion, a dark drama featuring fake gun-toting monks finally comes to Thai cinemas

More than three years after director Phawat Panangkasiri called out "it's a wrap," and cast and crew of the movie toasted the completion of filming, crime drama "Nak Prok" ("The Shadow of the Naga") is finally coming to Thai cinemas in its original version. It's being released uncut with two ratings, Rate 18+ with pop ups and Rate 20 without, meaning that it contains strong language and violent scenes involving a monk with a gun that might offend those with strict Buddhist principles.

The story depicts three thieves - Singha (Ray MacDonald), Parn (Somchai Khemklad) and Por (Pitisak Yaowananon) - who think they're being clever by hiding their loot in the grounds of a temple. But when they return to collect the money, they find it's been buried under the new chapel. Their solution is to force head monk Luangta Chuen (Sa-ad Piampongsan) to conduct an ordination ceremony for them so that they can stay in the nearby monastery while they dig for their money.

Por chooses to be a temple boy instead because he feels it's a sin to do bad things while wearing the saffron robes.

Tension erupts when Singh's girlfriend (Inthira Charoenpura) turns up while the trio is digging.

While the plot may seem to foreign film fans similar to "Blue Streak" and "We're No Angels", with robbers posing as good guys for nefarious purposes, the juxtaposition of Buddhist monk with dark drama has a very different context.

Each character, says the director, is like one of the four types of lotus in Buddhism, which refer to the different levels of understanding of Dharma. The Singha character, for example, is not open-minded to any teaching and cannot understand Dharma at all even though he has the chance to be a monk. Por, on the other hand, opens his heart and mind to the Buddha's teaching when he spends time in close proximity to the monks despite having led a life a crime.

The director, himself a deeply committed Buddhist, says he doesn't present these ideas in a complicated plot because he knows that making a story with bad monks is already strong enough for a local audience.

"Even though we read reports about monks doing wrong in the papers most days, most people feel awkward at seeing it on the big screen," he says.

"I constantly hear that religion is on the decline. That's not true. It's people who are falling by the wayside, not the religion," he says.

Actor Ray, who plays the dangerous and aggressive Singha, says he doesn't see his character as a monk but simply as a bad guy who wears the saffron robes to commit a crime.

"It's the most challenging role I've ever played," says the actor, who usually plays a loner.

Phawat, who first worked with Ray in the '90s on variety hit "Teen Talk", says part of his reason for selecting the actor was his mixed British/Thai blood.

"Thai actors would inevitably feel uncomfortable about playing that bad monk character. Ray doesn't have that barrier," he says.

Phawat says 'Nak Prok' was always intended as a film noir and that he has no regrets about refusing to bow to social sensitivities, even if it's meant such a long wait.

When movie mogul Somsak 'Sia Jiang' Techarattanaprasert saw the final cut three years ago, he ordered Phawat to re-edit and erase the gun from many scenes. "It looked so bizarre when the characters just point their hands at each other!" laughs Phawat.

"They decided to return to original version but with one condition. Somsak knew that the film would be banned under the old film law. So he asked me to wait for the new law, although back then we didn't know really know about the ratings and if and how they would help."

Phawat agreed, especially as there was nothing to stop the film being shown out of country. Indeed, it was selected for the Toronto International Film Festival in 2008, where it received mixed reviews.

Meantime, Sahamongkol Films Company tested local waters by taking the film on campus tours.

"We got good feedback and most understood what we are trying to do," he says.

But faith and crime are always taboo in Thai films. Many movies have faced strong protests from conservative Buddhists, sometimes even they've been released, as was the case with "Angulimala" in 2003.

Phawat urges people to be open-minded and watch the film from beginning to end before passing judgement. If they do, he's confident they'll understand what he's trying to say.

"Nak Prok" goes on release on March 18 with two optional ratings" Rate 18+ with pop-up warning signs in some scenes and Rate 20+ without the signs.


-- The Nation 18/2/2010


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another Thai-produced film coming out soon in which the bad guys are monks is Mindfulness Over Murder, based on the novel of the same name by ex-Bangkok Post subeditor Nick Wilgus. In this case the monks are either undercover cops or drug dealers (that's part of the mystery). The abbot becomes a Colombo-like detective figure. (Disclaimer: I worked on the script, pre-production.)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...