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Zen Documentary

4 Enlightening Zen Documentaries

In this article, we'll explore the top 4 Zen Documentary


Intro: Zen Documentary

The picture begins with a dancer gyrating frantically in front of a busy club's flashing strobe lights, then cuts to a motorbike rushing through the city at night before arriving at a small country temple just after sunrise. It's a strange opening for a film about suicide and Buddhism until we find that the dancer and the biker are the same people: Ittetsu Nemoto, a 45-year-old Zen Buddhist monk known throughout Japan for his fantastic ability to talk the suicidal back from the brink of death. Nemoto is no average Zen monk, even though he is the abbot of Daizen-ji, a monastery in rural Gifu Prefecture.

1. The Spirit of Tibet: Journey to Enlightenment - Zen Documentaries

The Spirit of Tibet is an intimate look into the life and world of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, one of Tibet's most revered teachers of the twentieth century (1910-1991). Khyentse Rinpoche was a writer, poet, and meditation master who inspired everyone who met him. The Dalai Lama was one of his many students around the world. From his escape following China's invasion of Tibet to his determination to preserve and transmit Buddhist teachings far and wide, Khyentse Rinpoche's story is told in this one-of-a-kind portrait. His life takes us on a journey through Tibet's art, ritual, philosophy, and sacred dance, revealing the wonders of the Tibetan culture.

2. Japan The Way of Zen - Documentaries about Zen

Japanese Zen refers to the Japanese varieties of Zen Buddhism, a Chinese Mahyna school of Buddhism that emphasises dhyna, or meditative awareness and stability training. Zen proponents claim that this practice provides insight into one's inner essence, or the emptiness of intrinsic existence, which leads to a more liberated way of life.

According to legend, Zen began in India when Gautama Buddha held a flower in his hand, and Mahkyapa smiled. With this smile, he demonstrated that he had grasped the dharma's wordless core. Mahkyapa, the second patriarch of Zen, received the dharma in this manner.

3. Living in a Japanese Zen Monastery - Zen Documentary

Since the 7th century CE, Buddhist monasteries have been a part of Japanese culture, and they have remained robust and socially significant organizations throughout the medieval era. Many of Japan's most beautiful examples of ancient and medieval architecture may be seen in temple complexes, many of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Monks who lived worked and meditated in Buddhist monasteries produced some of Japan's best historical works of art in painting, sculpture, and calligraphy, in addition to serving their local communities on their road to enlightenment.

4. The Life of Zen Master Dogen - Zen Documentary

Dgen Zenji (January 19, 1200 – September 22, 1253), also known as Dgen Kigen, Eihei Dgen, Kso Jy Daishi, or Bussh Dent Kokushi, was a Japanese Buddhist monk, writer, poet, philosopher, and founder of the St school of Zen in Japan.

Originally ordained as a monk in Kyoto's Tendai School, he became unsatisfied with the school's teachings and moved to China in search of a more true Buddhism. He stayed for five years, eventually studying under Tiantong Rujing, a renowned Chinese Caodong lineage master. Upon his return to Japan, he began writing literary works such as Fukan zazengi and Bendwa to promote the practice of zazen (sitting meditation).

Documentaries about Zen: Conclusion

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Picture Credits: @seanstratton on Unsplash

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