Incredibly rare footage of Mahasi Sayadaw, who revitalized a style of Vipassana mediation in Burma during the 1970s, influencing well over one million people in Southeast Asia. This footage also shows footage of Sayadaw's main disciple U Silanada, and some of the first Westerners to bring Theravadin Buddhism to the the West including Jack Kornfield, Alan Clements, Joseph Goldstein, and the Indian Anagarika Munindra. This is an essential link in the transmission of the history as Asian thought into Western culture, and ultimately the American arts. Also included is the opening of a meditation retreat at Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts with Mahasi Sayadaw and his monks, hosted by Jack Kornfield. This includes opening instructions, and actual meditation interviews with Sayadaw.
The Dharma Bum is a feature length, part animated, documentary film telling the tantalising true story of Laurence Carroll.
Carroll was born in Dublin in the year 1856, spent his early life as an alcoholic hobo drifter as he bummed his way across the USA.
This atheist, activist worked the shipping route from San Francisco to Japan until he found himself on the beach, hungover and homeless after being kicked off the vessel for drunk and disorderly conduct.
He eventually made his way to Burma, where he was taken in by local Buddhist monks, dried out and after five years as an apprentice became the first white man to ever don the saffron robes of a Buddhist monk changing his name to U Dhammaloka.
See also: http://dhammalokaproject.wordpress.com/
This exquisite documentary explores the world of forest-dwelling Theravadan monks at Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery in Redwood Valley, California. Abhayagiri (“Fearless Mountain” in Pali) is a community of monks who follow the precepts originally set down by Buddha. An inspirational film that captures the heart of inquiry as well as the beauty and simplicity of a Buddhist lifestyle.
Aloko Udapadi (Light Arose) is an Epic Film of the unswerving human effort, to record for all time, a unique spiritual heritage.
In 89 BC, King Walagamba of Sri Lanka, was troubled by power-hungry forces from within and from outside. A severe drought assailed the land for twelve unbroken years. Monks who perpetuated Buddha’s word by oral tradition, could not survive.
The monks were troubled both by the enemy and the famine. In the dark days, the loyal subjects protected their King. Enemy leaders killed each other for power and wealth. Well armed, the King dealt a deadly blow and regained the rule. In peace and prosperity, the monks facing the challenge wrote down the oral tradition. The Buddha’s compassionate teaching became an irreducible component of the whole of human culture.
This is a short film made for the Open University series Man’s Religious Quest in 1977 and is set at the main monastery for Ajahn Chah: Wat Pah Pong in Ubon Rachathani, Thailand.
The main interest in the film is that it has recordings of Ajahn Chah himself answering questions on the nature of the monastic life and the teaching of the Buddha.
We also get glimpses of a very young Ajahn Liem (now head of that group of monasteries), identified as a very well respected young monk in the film, and Ajahn Anan, one of the leading meditation teachers in the school (walking behind Ajahn Chah on piṇḍapāta).
We also see an interview with a young monk from England, but I have been unable to identify him by name, and apparently he disrobed soon after returning to England.
The film looks at the daily life of the monks, shows them on piṇḍapāta, in the dānasāla, doing walking and sitting meditation, and going about their daily life and work.
This is a documentary about the early days of the opening of the Cittaviveka, or Chithurst Buddhist Monastery, in West Sussex, England, which was begun in 1979 under the auspices of Ajahn Chah. The film opens with a group of monks walking on piṇḍapāta through the English countryside and a gathering of lay and monastics, presumably inside the mansion.
We also see the sometimes hostile, sometimes friendly, sometimes indifferent reactions of the local population to the monastics who have moved in there; to try to ease fears and get understanding the monks have an open day and arrange meetings to discuss matters with the locals.
In the film we see Ajahn Chah, who explains some Dhamma principles, a young Ajahn Sumedho, Ajahn Sucitto, who eventually took over thre running of Chithurst, and a lay woman who became Ajahn Candasirī. Now, as we know, nearly 40 years after the events, the monastery and the monks are as much a part of the community as anyone else who lives there, and they have done so by being true to their calling of living a quiet and simple life.