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Act Normal: A Search For Love

Act Normal: A Documentary by Olaf de FleurA Buddhist monk decides to disrobe and get married after sixteen years of monkhood. This documentary, directed by Olaf de Fleur, took ten years to film.

Robert T. Edison was born and raised in Nottingham, England. When he was fourteen years old he began to practice Buddhism. At eighteen he became a monk and went to Thailand where, for a decade, he spent his time in monasteries.

He became the first Buddhist monk in Iceland when he moved there in 1994 and founded a Buddhist sect. Five years later Robert decided to “disrobe” and get married. After sixteen years of celibacy Robert had to deal with being “normal” – getting employment, paying his bills and dealing with the needs of his partner.

After four years in “the real world” Robert traveled back to Thailand to become a monk again.

Act Normal was filmed from 1994 to 2006 and is a unique exploration of one man’s twelve-year search for some kind of love.

Act Normal can be purchased from Poppoli Pictures.

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Comment from LadyWu
Time: November 27, 2009, 1:37 am

This portion of the film reminds me of another book I have seen reviewed lately about two people, a monk and a nun who disrobed. They got married. Oddly enough, both were from Thailand. They too were thinking about shaving their heads. Is there something about Thailand’s monastic system (for non-Thais) that makes them want to try the “world experiment?” The review of the book sounded much more contemplative, in the worldly sense of the word, than does this movie. When I remember the name of the book, I’ll bring it to your attention.


Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: November 27, 2009, 8:43 am

Thanks — sounds like an interesting book. I understand there’s considered to be no dishonor in disrobing because there are no lifelong vows involved and in fact many men in particular will become monks for a short spell in order to earn merit for their families. And there are bound to be people who fall in love or are otherwise convinced they’re unsuited for monastic life.

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