One interesting documentary I saw a couple years ago is “Tulku”, which was made by Gesar Mukpo, a recognized tulku that grew up in western society. He documents his life and the lives of other tulkus that were recognized in the west, as they to try live up to the expectations of becoming spiritual masters.
A 10 minute documentary about a former prison inmate that returns to prisons to teach inmates mindfulness meditation.
In an interesting short film about Jamyang Khyentse Lödro, a well known practitioner who was knowledgeable and skilled in all the major traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. Even though he wasn’t as well known in the west, he was responsible for influencing many teachers and was a big proponent of the Rime movement. It features interviews with some of his former students. The documentary is entitled “Remebering the Masters.”
A new film is being developed called “Thongdral: Liberation through seeing,” which focuses on the sacred arts created by the Karmapa. Here is some information about the Karmapas endorsement of the film:
This theatrical documentary has the active support and guidance of His Holiness Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the 17th Karmapa.The Karmapa is the traditional leader of the Karma Kagyu, one of the major branches of Tibetan Buddhism. The first Karmapa was the original Tibetan master to intentionally take rebirth.
The film is being made by experienced professionals: a producer/director who has made more than 60 documentaries, a Visual Effects producer who has won two Oscars, and talented cinematographers.
View a trailer about the film:
To support this film, click here. The current fundraising campaign has only 3 days left.
This Korean Zen Buddhist documentary shows a retreat that is a 1000 year old tradition.This 3 month retreat is filmed from Baek Hung Temple, located in the mountains of Korea. It follows a group of nuns while they make efforts to reach enlightenment.
Known as “Dong Ahn Geo”, this practice involves long hours in silence while pondering koans and doing walking meditation in different areas around the temple. The serene images are set against cold silence that is interspersed with the sound of rain fall, birds, and ritual items.
An interesting look into the community driven practice of Korean Zen Buddhism.
Many people have now become familiar with the amazing story of Jetsuma Tenzin Palmo, who spent 12 years in solitary retreat in a cave in the Himalays. For those who havn’t read her book, which details her time during retreat, the following documentary gives some explanation on some of the contents within her book. It also shows her inspiring work to establish a nunnery meant to train yoginis.
This interesting documentary shows the transition period for a young man living in Finland, before he moves to Thailand to ordain as a Buddhist monk. It shows his relationships with his sisters, and how everyone works through understanding and accepting his decision to leave.
Reincarnation is an interesting topic in the west in that it’s often not really covered, going against most western beliefs. For many who are new to Buddhism or even those who have been exploring it for many years, reinarnation is a topic that isn’t always easy to understand. I found some interesting documentaries that others might find interesting, who are “poking” around in this topic
View on Reincarnation Historically
This documentary covers where reincarnation sits historically in cultures, which surprisingly converged with the Greek philosophers like Socrates, Pythogoreas and Aristotle
Remembering Past Lives
A documentary that covers people who say they can remember their past lives, with researches that present arguments to try argue against them
Currently a documentary is being produced, based on Thich Nhat Hanh’s book: Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children.
The film is described on their website as follows: Continue reading
Milarepa is one of Tibet’s most celebrated Yogi’s. He was well known for enduring very strict austeries, like mediting with barely any clothes in ice freezing caves and only ocassionally eating nettles to sustain himself. Due to his determination, he was able to attain englightenment in one lifetime.
This documentary with Nubpa Rinpoche covers a pilgrimage to the meditation sites that Jetsun Milarepa performed his practices and provides insight into this great yogi.
While Buddhism today is mainly seen in East Asian and South East Asian countries, Buddhism originated in India. While Buddhism has made a resurgence in India in the past couple decades, Buddhism had for the most part left in India for many years. This interesting excerpt from “The Story of India” explains how Buddhism began in India, and the place it now takes in modern India. Continue reading
One of my favorite documentaries, Yogis of Tibet documents the lives of various yogis from the Drikung Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism. In an attempt by the filmmakers to show elite practitioners who are decreasing in size, it’s a inspiring documentary about these practitioners and those they’ve influenced.
This classic Tibetan Buddhist documentary chronicles the life of the 16th Gyalwa Karmpa. The Karmpa is the oldest lineage of “tulkus” or reincarnated Lamas. His name means the one who manifests enlightened activity. He is regarded as an emanation of Chenrezig, the Buddha of compassion. Continue reading
Here is an interesting video about living a mindful life. It deals mainly with the beautiful Thai Forest Tradition of Theravada.
The topic is about mindfulness, an important foundational practice of buddhism. Ajahn Chah makes an apperance in this short documentary, who was a teacher to many influential western teachers of buddhism. He speaks about happiness and buddhist practice that help’s life not be so confusing. This is a classic film on mindfulness. Continue reading
Doing Time, Doing Vipassana is a classic documentary made from within an overcrowded prison in India. To help rehabilitate the prison population instead of merely “housing” them, they started doing 10 day silent sit vipassana courses within the prison walls. Continue reading