movies

Watch SIT, a short documentary

SIT – Short Documentary Film from Yoko Okumura on Vimeo.

Chris Ruiz, one of the producers of SIT, a short documentary by Yoko Okumura, suggested that I might want to share this video. Yoko Okumura is the daughter of Shohaku Okumura, a Zen abbot and Eihei Dogen translator. Confounding stereotypes of Zen strictness, Shohaku is a really easy-going guy. Her brother, Masaki, lacks direction, and although he’d like to go to college to learn to cook, he’s perpetually “not ready” to take any concrete steps, seeming to have retreated into a world of video games and finding interaction with the world to be scary.

As Ruiz said to me, the documentary helps “dispel myths about the traditionalism, closed-mindedness, and rigidness attributed to Asian families.”

It’s a very short documentary, and slow moving. It’s rather interesting and surprising, though.

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Guardian angel meditation (Day 11)

100 Days of Lovingkindness

You know when you’re sitting on a subway and there’s someone sitting directly opposite? It’s kind of awkward — all that trying not to make eye contact, and those embarrassing moments when we get caught looking at them…

There’s something of this sometimes in the metta bhavana (development of lovingkindness) meditation practice. It’s not so bad with the friend, since you’re used to making eye contact with them, but even there is can feel a bit odd to be mentally “sitting opposite” them for ten minutes or so. It’s just not very natural, is it? It’s rather stilted.

For quite a while now, I’ve been doing the lovingkindness practice in a different way. For one thing I’ve been imagining the other person not as being statically opposite me, but as going about their daily business. I might visualize my friend working on his computer, or practicing the piano, or doing some gardening. The “neutral person” I might see working at their counter in the post office…

It’s not that I have one ongoing movie, by the way. It’s more a series of fragmented images. That seems to be enough.

So that’s step one.

Step two is that I see myself as an invisible presence. I’m that person’s guardian angel, wishing them well.

I sometimes will imagine that I’m laying a hand on them in a loving touch, and sending my love into their body as I say “May you be well; may you be happy; may you be at peace.” Sometimes I’ll imagine that there’s light streaming from my body to theirs as I repeat the phrases. Sometimes I’ll just see the person “doing their thing” and repeat the phrases.

Usually I’ll smile.

I think I got the idea from the Wim Wenders film, Wings of Desire (Himmel Ãœber Berlin) where invisible angels patrol the city of Berlin, touching people and feeling their pain, although in the movie this is rather depressing and you don’t get the impression that they actually alleviate much suffering.

But I like the idea. We all are familiar with the idea of guardian angels, but we usually think in terms of having one. I think it’s even lovelier to think in terms of being one.

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Temporary reprieve for the threatened ‘Buddhas of Mes Aynak’

We’ve had some great news from Brent Huffman, who ran a Kickstarter campaign, raising funds to finish a documentary on the Buddhas of Mes Aynak. Mes Aynak is an ancient Buddhist city in Afghanistan, which was scheduled to be destroyed about now in order to construct a copper mine that’s being built by the Chinese.

Here’s what Brent had to say:

Due to the success of our international campaign that reached out to the US including the Smithsonian and State Department, Thailand and other Asian countries, South American, Canada, Europe, etc., the Ministry of Mines in Afghanistan is FINALLY recognizing the importance of the ancient Buddhist site and is paying attention.

Archaeologists, who have been doing INCREDIBLE work at Mes Aynak, now have 6-9 more months to continue rescue excavation. During this time they can save movable relics and artifacts.

The bad news is that Mes Aynak will STILL BE DESTROYED in 2014. So we still have our work cut out for us. The documentary should be complete in late March/April, so it should have maximum impact to help save the site when it airs.

Here is an updated list of news stories about the film:

I will be making a donation of 10% of the Kickstarter money to Afghan archeologists sometime during this month as soon as I receive the funds. This money will be used to buy necessary equipment like cameras and computers.

Also, check out the new poster design by Wendy Tay.

To keep in the loop on current developments in this project, please like our Facebook page here.

Thanks again for all the continued support! Let’s save Mes Aynak in 2013!!!

Best,

-Brent Huffman

Wildmind is proud to be a contributor to the film’s Kickstarter project, and will be on the credits. More importantly, though, there’s a precious opportunity to document the artefacts of Mes Aynak, and possibly to put further pressure on the Afghan and Chinese governments in order to preserve the entire site.

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Meditation creates a little breathing space for San Francisco students

Richard Schiffman, OpEdNews: There are two jobs that have become a lot more difficult in recent years. One is being a teacher, which was never easy at the best of times. But in an age of virtually unlimited opportunities for distraction and rapidly shrinking attention spans getting kids to focus on their schoolwork can be (with apologies to dentists) like pulling teeth.

I know: As a former school aide working with young children, it was often all that I could manage just to break up fights and keep the decibel level below that at an international airport. Any “education” that actually took place …

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‘Samsara’ filmmakers seek meditative flow

Pam Grady, SFGate: Twenty years after they made “Baraka,” filmmakers Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson are back with “Samsara,” with Fricke directing, Magidson producing and both men credited with concept, treatment and editing.

Shot in gorgeous 70mm over five years in 25 countries on five continents, like “Baraka” and 1983’s classic “Koyaanisqatsi,” where Fricke started his career as co-writer, co-editor and director of photography, “Samsara” is dazzling visual poetry that blends the sacred with the profane, the industrial with the natural. Fricke and Magidson recently sat down for a phone chat about their latest cinematic wonder.

Q: How do you find out about some …

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Meditating on our global interconnectedness: A conversation with Samsara filmmakers Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson

Alexandra Marie Daniels, The WIP: When I set aside my dance career, my fascination for movement in time and space had not ended though my interests had shifted from the proscenium stage to film.

At the time, I asked my friend James, a film producer, to please make me a list of must see films.

The next morning I received an email with a list of five movies. The film Baraka was at the top of the list with a note that said “Watch this film on the big screen.”

It has been twenty years since filmmakers Mark Magidson and Ron Fricke created …

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Meditative stream of images in ‘Samsara’ raises questions

“Samsara,” a dazzlingly beautiful documentary directed by Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson, consists of a non-narrative stream of images shot in 25 countries. It is best enjoyed as a kind of meditation, writes Seattle Times movie critic Moira Macdonald in this review. The film is playing at Seattle’s Cinerama.

Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson’s stream-of-images documentary “Samsara” floats by, its pictures piling up like turned pages in a magazine. Shot in 70mm and playing on Cinerama’s massive screen, it’s often dazzlingly beautiful — a shot of clouds erupting like cotton over a volcano; a massive church whose windows are a candy-colored kaleidoscope of stained …

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Aston Kutcher channels Steve Jobs at UCLA

The Daily Mail carries photographs of actor Aston Kutcher playing the part of Steve Jobs in a biographical film that’s being make of the late Apple chief.

Jobs is said to have been inspired by meditation and by the minimalist Zen esthetic, although his legendary bad temper suggests that his meditation practice only went so far.

He was so dedicated to Buddhism he went to India in search of enlightenment – and was married by a Zen master.

And new scenes of Ashton Kutcher sitting cross-legged at a meditation class show it is another of the threads of his live that will be touched upon in the forthcoming Steve Jobs biopic.

The Two and a Half Men star looked every inch the idealistic young hippie in his orange and cream striped shirt, torn jeans, Beatles-esque hair and beard at the UCLA university campus today.

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Florida Dharma Film Festival embraces Buddhist teachings

Amy C. Rippel, Orlando Sentinel: Whether you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim or any other religion, Mark Winwood wants you to embrace your inner Buddhist ideals.

It’s not about changing religions. It’s about living a happier, more meaningful life that is full of strength, confidence and clarity. Winwood, founder of the Yalaha-based Chenrezig Project and a self-taught Tibetan Buddhist teacher, hopes that local residents — no matter what religion, ethnicity or affiliation — will embrace the Buddhist teachings.

Through the Florida Dharma Film Festival, which begins Friday at the Windhorse Wellness Center, he hopes to bring together Eastern philosophies to the west.

Feature films with ties to Eastern ideals will be shown during the free festival, which also will be held Saturday at the Windhorse Wellness Center, 353 Plaza Drive, Eustis. It continues March 30 and 31 at the First Congregation Church of Winter Park, 225 S. Interlachen Ave., Winter Park.

Some of the films on tap are big Hollywood productions with famous-named actors while others are small, lesser-known independent films.

“These films communicate that there is a lot more to our lives than the everyday struggles we all engage in,” said Winwood, who in 2006 took a spiritual trip to Dharmsala, site of the Tibetan government in exile and home to its political and spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

That year, Winwood, 60, started the Yalaha Tibetan Buddhism Study Group as a means to teach Tibetan Buddhist practices. Today, it’s evolved into the Chenrezig Project with dozens of students learning the peaceful ways. Three years ago he started the film festival, which has grown into a two-weekend event.

Between films there will be breaks for discussion. All are free but reservations are recommended by going to flharma.eventbrite.com.

Film schedule

Friday, March 23 (Windhorse Wellness Center, Eustis)

7-7:50 p.m. — “The Lion’s Roar”

8:10-10:15 p.m. — “Fearless”

Saturday, March 24 (Windhorse Wellness Center)

Noon-1:30 p.m. — “10 Questions for the Dalai Lama”

1:50-3:20 p.m. — “Saint Misbehavin'”

4-5:45 p.m. — “Buddha’s Lost Children”

7-7:45 p.m. — “Tibetan Book of the Dead”

8:10-9:55 p.m. — “Enlightenment Guaranteed”

March 30 (First Congregation Church of Winter Park)

7-8:10 p.m. — “The Devotion of Matthieu Ricard.”

8:30-10:20 p.m. — “Twelve Angry Men”

March 31 (First Congregation Church of Winter Park)

Noon-1:15 p.m. — “Tulku”

1:35-3:15 p.m. — “Recalling a Buddha”

3:30-5 p.m. — “How to Cook Your Life”

6-7:20 p.m. — “The Sun Behind the Clouds”

7:45-10 p.m. — “Little Buddha”


WindHorse Theatre: 353 Plaza Drive, Eustis, FL
www.windhorseworld.com :: (352) 602-4351

First Congregational Church of Winter Park: 225 South Interlachen Avenue, Winter Park, FL
www.fccwp.org :: (407) 647-2416

The Chenrezig Project: PO Box 11, Yalaha, FL 34797
www.chenrezigproject.org :: info@chenrezigproject.org

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