Abraxas the Movie

A new movie from Japan has its North American debut at the Sundance Film Festival in January.

In his youth, Jonen was a punk-rock musician, now he’s settled into a life as a Buddhist monk with a wife and five-year-old son. During his career-day speech at a local high school, however, Jonen has a public breakdown that leads to a deep depression when he realizes the importance of music to his life. In an attempt to raise Jonen’s spirits, the compassionate chief monk suggests he play a live show. As he plans for the concert, Jonen faces challenges from past loss, small-town resistance, and the possibility of alienating his family.


Full of authenticity and charm, “Abraxas” is a subtle exploration of a man’s journey to reconcile the spiritual and secular. Director Naoki Kato cinematically renders the film to complement its philosophy by uniting the everyday and the transcendent. Rich, rewarding, and profoundly moving, Abraxas affirms peace and happiness within and posits “once a punk rocker, always a punk rocker.” ----- IndieWire



READ MORE AT THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER...
READ AN INTERVIEW WITH THE DIRECTOR AT INDIEWIRE....

Buddhism Grabs New York

Here is a 2006 story reporting the popularity of Buddhism in New York. The Reuters news report features Rev. Nakagaki of the New York Buddhist Church.


Thanks to Peter Terpstra for the upload.

MORE VIDEOS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE LIVING DHARMA CENTRE YOUTUBE SITE...

A-List Buddhists



While Tiger Woods claims that Buddhism is an important part of his road to recovery. There are some other A-List Buddhists according to The Daily Beast.

The web magazine is run by former Vanity Fair and New Yorker editor, Tina Brown.

CHECK OUT WHO ELSE MADE THE A-LIST OF BUDDHISTS...

The Buddha on PBS



The Buddha, a two-hour documentary for PBS by award-winning filmmaker David Grubin and narrated by Richard Gere, tells the story of the Buddha’s life, a journey especially relevant to our own bewildering times of violent change and spiritual confusion. The program was produced in conjunction with the exhibition Pilgrimage and Buddhist Art, organized by Asia Society Museum, New York, opening in March 2010.

The companion website for The Buddha, launching in early 2010, will feature the work of some of the world’s greatest artists and sculptors, who across two millennia, have depicted the Buddha’s life in art rich in beauty and complexity. Hear insights into the ancient narrative by contemporary Buddhists — including Pulitzer Prize winning poet W.S. Merwin and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Join the conversation and learn more about meditation, the history of Buddhism, and how to incorporate the Buddha’s teachings on compassion and mindfulness into daily life.

Premiering April 7, 2010 at 7 p.m. CST on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings)

GO TO THE PBS WEBSITE FOR "THE BUDDHA"...
READ AN INTERVIEW WITH THE DIRECTOR FROM THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE...

Sensei Ulrich on Discovering Buddhism

The JoyTV program, "Discovering Buddhism" introduced viewers to the teachings of the Buddha. The 18 part, half-hour program was produced in 2009. The main participant was Sensei Fredrich Ulrich of the Manitoba Buddhist Temple.

In this clip, host, Tim Smith asks Sensei Ulrich to explain why some may choose to not think of Buddhism as a religion but more of a teaching.


Rev. Ulrich's rich knowledge of history and art provided viewers with a unique perspective on the historical Buddha. He describes the symbolism in the statues that often represent Amida Buddha.


Check your local TV listings to see when the series will air again. Unfortunately, JoyTV is only seen in B.C. and Manitoba.

SEE MORE JODO SHINSHU VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE...

Opening Night

In September, Sensei Ulrich was invited to introduce the documentary, Burma VJ at Winnipeg's Cinematheque Theatre. Here are some photos from opening night.


Poster in the lobby


Sensei Ulrich introduces the film with a brief history of Buddhism and politics in Myanmar


Sensei Ulrich meets with the audience after the film


The Manitoba Buddhist Temple is grateful that the Winnipeg Film Group invited us to participate and hope to continue working together on future projects.

VISIT THE WINNIPEG CINEMATHEQUE WEBSITE...

Shinran Anime

Concerned that Buddhism is no longer part of everyday life, the Hongwanji Temple in Kyoto sought to reach out to the younger set by coming out with a DVD depicting the life of its founder, Shinran, of Shin Buddhism. The 108-minute Japanese anime DVD, comes with collectible miniature characters, key rings, pens and notes.

Sorry, no English subtitiled version seems to be available yet.

Burma VJ

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Groundhog Day

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Lethbridge in the News

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Departures

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The Story of India

Worth watching! The landmark six hour, six part mini-series, "The Story of India" is a fantastic journey through the history of India. Michael Wood is your engaging and articulate guide who brings you along on a whirlwind tour of the country and its history.

Especially don't miss episode two, "The Power of Ideas." The series spends some time under the Bodhi Tree telling the story of the Buddha.


LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FILM ON THE PBS WEBSITE...

Through a Buddhist Lens

It's back and better and than ever!



The third annual Calgary Buddhist Film Series kicks off on Thursday, October 30. It features seven films followed by discussions led by Ministers of the Jodo Shinshu sect of Buddhism including Sensei Ulrich of the Manitoba Buddhist Temple. It's probably the best deal in town... FREE!

Also check out DharmaFlix. Its a new collaborative wiki web site listing films with Buddha dharma content. It also features a top 100 list based on participants' reviews. So what's your favorite Buddhist film or TV series?

VISIT THE CALGARY BUDDHIST TEMPLE WEB SITE...
SEE THE TOP 100 BUDDHIST FILMS AT DHARMAFLIX....

Buddhist Way of Life

Ogui Socho of the Buddhist Churches of America makes a very special appearance on this internet video on the DharmaNet web site. Learn why he chose the Buddhist path and more about his Zen mentor, Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. Also find out why he was "kicked out" of his first temple in the United States and how he eventually overcame that setback to become the Bishop of the Buddhist Churches of America.

The video is a part of an online video series called "The Buddhist Way of Life." In 2005, the Society for the Promotion of Buddhism (Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai) [BDK] initiated a BDK-TV Series shown in Southern California. The weekly 15-minute shows featured interviews and teachings from major American Buddhist followers and teachers. 

SEE THE VIDEO...

How to Cook Your Life


Filmmaker Doris Dörrie turns her attention to Buddhism and that age-old saying, you are what you eat. In How To Cook Your Life, Dörrie enlists the help of the charismatic Zen Master Edward Espe Brown to explain the guiding principles of Zen Buddhism as they apply to the preparation of food as well as life itself. “How a person goes about dealing with the ingredients for his meals” explains Dörrie “says a lot about him. How To Cook Your Life teaches us to be attentive in our everyday dealings with the most mundane things and also open our eyes to one of the most beautiful occupations: cooking.”



Now playing until February 27 at the Winnipeg Cinematheque Theatre

Shinran and Rennyo on the Amazing Race

This week on the Amazing Race, Jodo Shinshu Buddhists may have recognized two very famous statues. Part of this week's show was to go to the 16th century, Kita-Mido Temple in Osaka, Japan. Both, Shinran Shonin and Rennyo Shonin, make a cameo appearances on prime-time television.

A Zen Life

D.T. Suzuki is often credited with spreading interest in Zen and Shin Buddhism to North America. Interestingly, later in life Suzuki was more inclined to Jodo Shin (True Pure Land) practice on a personal level, seeing in the doctrine of Tariki, or other power as opposed to self power, an abandonment of self that is entirely complementary to Zen practice and yet to his mind even less willful than traditional Zen.
READ MORE ON WIKIPEDIA...

Director Michael Goldberg recently sent us this note about his film, "A Zen Life - D.T. Suzuki." It was one of the films recently shown at the Calgary Buddhist Film Series. The documentary is now for sale:


"A ZEN LIFE - D.T. Suzuki" is a 77-minute documentary about Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki (1870-1966), credited with single-handedly introducing Zen Buddhism to the West.

D.T. Suzuki was highly successful at getting Westerners to appreciate the Japanese mentality, and Japanese to understand Western logic. The effect he had on Western psychoanalysis, philosophy, religious thinking, and the arts was profound. His numerous writings in English and Japanese serve as an inspiration even today. Dr. Suzuki message is all the more important now, in light of contemporary conflicts stemming from divergent ways of thinking.

Gary Snyder calls Dr. Suzuki "probably the most culturally significant Japanese person in international terms, in all of history."

Along with Gary Snyder, there are exclusive interviews of many people, respected in their own right, who knew D.T. Suzuki in person, including Huston Smith, Mihoko Okamura, Dr. Albert Stunkard, Elsie Mitchell,
Robert Aitken, Donald Richie, Wm. Theodore de Bary, and rare footage of Thomas Merton, John Cage, Erich Fromm, and Suzuki himself.

The DVD contains an additional 10-minutes from a hitherto unknown interview of Daisetz Suzuki by Huston Smith. There is also a printed "Supplementary Text" inserted in the case, with quotes from Dr. Suzuki's talks in English never before published.

"A ZEN LIFE - D.T. Suzuki" can be ordered at:
www.martygrossfilms.com

Calgary Buddhist Film Series

Seven films in four days. In you are in the Calgary area, go, see, and participate in the Calgary Buddhist Film Series. Each film will be followed by discussion moderated by Buddhist teachers, including Sensei Ulrich of the Manitoba Buddhist Temple. Did we happen to mention that admission is FREE!

More from the Simpsons

Another big event this summer was the Simpsons movie. Forget about Homer and Bart, Lisa is the real hero of the Simpsons. She's the heart and soul of the family. She's smart and compassionate. She's a musician, a vegetarian and a Buddhist. Here's more from the Simpsons episode, "She of Little Faith."


More from this episode is posted on an earlier blog page.

John Safran vs God

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Into Great Silence

"Exhilarating...abounds in beautiful images..." VARIETY
"Unexpected and exhilarating... ” THE NATION
"One of the best films of the year..." NEW YORK TIMES

Our friends at the Cinematheque Theatre in Winnipeg invite you to see "Into Great Silence". Its the first film ever made chronicling life inside the Grande Chartreuse, one of the world's most ascetic monasteries. Monks dedicate themselves entirely to the service of God and to spiritual life, in complete silence. A filmmaker and his crew live in the monks' quarters for six months. They record their daily prayers, tasks, rituals and rare outdoor excursions. This transcendent, closely observed film seeks to embody a monastery, rather than simply depict one. it has no score, no voiceover and no archival footage. What remains is stunningly elemental, just time, space and light.


Into Great Silence (2006) (164 mins.) By Phillip Groning
June 4-7 at 7:00 PM, Cinematheque Theatre in Winnipeg, Manitoba

Thanks to Calgary

Recently, we were in Calgary for the Buddhist Churches of Canada annual general meeting. One of the changes that came out of that meeting was that the BCC will change its name to the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada (JSBTC).

The Manitoba Buddhist Temple would like to thank all the organizers and volunteers in Calgary for their work that weekend. They were wonderful hosts and now, good friends.

One of the ideas we heard that interested us, was creating a Buddhist Film Festival. The Calgary Buddhist Temple organized one last year that was a big success. It was held at a public library and included discussions about the films. Would the general public in Winnipeg be interested in an event like this?

Here's an example of an International Buddhist Film Festival in Singapore. I would attend just to see Lisa Simpson on the big screen. In the meantime, here she is on the computer screen.


We would also like to thank Calgary for creating at link on their web site to us. So right back at you, go to the Calgary Buddhist Temple web site for more information on Jodo Shinshu Buddhism in the Calgary area.