Monday, March 31, 2008

THE GOLDEN LETTERS: The Tibetan Teachings of Garab Dorje

The teachings of Dzogchen which directly introduces the practitioner to the Nature of Mind were first expounded by Garab Dorje in the country of Uddiyana and later went to India and Tibet. The essence of Garab Dorje's message is "The Three Statements that Strike the Essential Points." Patrul Rinpoche wrote a brilliant commentary together with practices entitled "The Special Teaching of the Wise and Glorious King"--here translated with notes, commentaries, and glossary of terms. "In many ways the best guide to the Dzogchen teachings. Includes explanations of texts that were previously thought too secret to publish.

Pema Chodron - Bodhisattva Mind

A guide to cultivating the mind of a bodhisattva, one who has altruistically dedicated themselves totally to others and is intent on enlightenment for their sake. Pema Chodron explores timeless insights and practices from the teachings of the classic work by the Indian master Shantideva, the Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life, and she examines the qualities of mind we need to develop on the path to enlightenment.

Like a wild elephant, the distracted mind causes emotions to escalate, but if the mind is trained to be steady and open, no matter what comes at you, you will remain calm in the immediacy of your experience. On these talks, Pema Chodron leads you through a series of practices inspired by Shantideva to help you "tether" your thoughts and emotions - not as a limiting force - but as a means to restore yourself in the freedom of the present moment.

"If we approach the wildness of our mind like a horse whisperer - using gentleness, compassion, and kindness - we return to our natural state of expansiveness that is always available to us." Pema Chodron.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Razor's Edge (1984)

This is a golden oldie I used to really love this movie, its a little dated now but if you have'nt seen it or read any Somerset Maugham its worth your time.

Larry Darrell returns from the battlefields of World War I to America a different person. His fiance (Isabel) resigns herself to a delay in the wedding plans when Larry heads off to Paris. There he finds he prefers a simpler existence and begins to read. One book inspires him to visit India and on to Nepal where he finds spiritual help from a lama. On returning to Paris he finds Isabel and some old friends. Everyone has changed.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Ram Dass Fierce Grace (2001)

Harvard professors Richard Alpert and Timothy Leary made countercultural history in 1963 when they were fired from that institution for conducting controversial psychedelic drug research. In the purple haze aftermath, Alpert journeyed to India and found his guru Maharaj ji, who renamed him Ram Dass ("Servant of God"). Best known for his 1971 bestseller BE HERE NOW, which was a spiritual touchstone of the era, Ram Dass became an inspiration to people across the globe. Filmmaker Mickey Lemle--who has known his subject for more than twenty-five years--intersperses vivid archival footage from hippiedom's glory days with intimate glimpses of Ram Dass today, as he continues to remake his life since being--in his words--"stroked" in 1997. Named by NEWSWEEK as one of the Top Five Non-Fiction Films of 2002, RAM DASS FIERCE GRACE is an engrossing, poignant meditation on spirituality, consciousness, healing and the unexpected grace of aging.

Into the Great Silience (2006)

This is a deeply relaxing meditative film. Not Buddhist, but deservingly included into this collection!

Nestled deep in the postcard-perfect French Alps, the Grande Chartreuse is considered one of the world’s most ascetic monasteries. In 1984, German filmmaker Philip Gröning wrote to the Carthusian order for permission to make a documentary about them. They said they would get back to him. Sixteen years later, they were ready. Gröning, sans crew or artificial lighting, lived in the monks’ quarters for six months—filming 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: time, space and light. One of the most mesmerizing and poetic chronicles of spirituality ever created, INTO GREAT SILENCE dissolves the border between screen and audience with a total immersion into the hush of monastic life. More meditation than documentary, it’s a rare, transformative theatrical experience for all.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Dalai Lama - The Four Noble Truths (1995)

No torrent for this as of yet but the whole DVD seems to be on YouTube.
Thanks to Oucels for pointing this one out!

This set of four videos collects a series of lectures on the Four Noble Truths given by His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama in 1997 in England. The lectures were a landmark event, bringing together for the first time in the West a nonsectarian Buddhist and lay audience for over six hours of emotional and intellectually challenging engagement with these central teachings of the Buddhist canon. The impressive intellect and scholarship of His Holiness is everywhere evident in these tapes as he traverses the expansive body of Buddhist scriptures and commentaries. One also catches glimpses of his mischievous sense of humor and, of course, his inspiring compassion.

Watch on YouTube:

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ashtanga Yoga - David Swenson

Ok, enough of this sitting on our butts in front of the computer! Time for a kick ass workout!

The complete Ashtanga Primary series as taught by David Swenson. David's delivery of the basic principles is clear and down-to-earth. He opens this practice to a variety of levels by offering varying degrees of approach. After the introduction there is a fully guided First Series practice in the traditional flowing rhythm inherent to Ashtanga Yoga. The session ends with a guided deep relaxation. Recommended for experienced practitioners.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Silent Roar: Searching for the Snow Leopard

This Documentary isn't really Buddhist, but some people have expressed an interest in seeing some Nature programs. So I figured this would be a good compromise. Also the book by Peter Matthiessen is with out doubt my favorite of all time. Enjoy!

Only a privileged few have ever seen a snow leopard, the powerful and mysterious predator of the Himalayas. Acclaimed natural history filmmakers Hugh Miles and Mitchell Kelly defy death while pursuing this legendary big cat in Silent Roar: Searching for the Snow Leopard -- the first film to capture the mysterious and intimate behavior of the snow leopard.


Alan Watts - Still the Mind

Meditation guru Alan Watts was recorded in the 1970s giving talks on emptying the mind of worry, stress, and guilt. With eloquent yet spontaneous, practical language, the author says real living is possible when we attend to the moments between thoughts, the moments we usually fill with clutter. This emotional busyness stems from the illusion that we have important responsibilities--that things will fallapart without our constant attention. By accepting a more humble placein the universe, we become more fully interactive with the energy ofthe universe and become a more effective channel for what it wants us to do. Watts's work is a marvelous and historically significant chapter in the development of American Buddhism and the meditative life.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Travellers & Magicians (2003)

Travellers & Magicians (2003)
The two men embark on parallel, if separate, journeys. Their yearning is a common one--for a better and different life. Dondup, delayed by the timeless pace of his village, is forced to hitchhike through the beautiful wild countryside of Bhutan to reach his goal. He shares the road with a monk, an apple seller, a papermaker and his beautiful young daughter, Sonam. Throughout the journey, the perceptive yet mischievous monk relates the story of Tashi. It is a mystical fable of lust, jealousy and murder, that holds up a mirror to the restless Dondup, and his blossoming attraction to the innocent Sonam. The cataclysmic conclusion of the monk's tale leaves Dondup with a dilemma--is the grass truly greener on the other side?


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Free Tibet (1998)

Heres a documentary/concert film of the Free Tibet Concert in San Fran in 1997. I havent watched it yet and it gets some pretty poor reviews, but with all thats going down in China/Tibet these days I thought it would make a good DL.

Midway through Sarah Pirozek's concert documentary, Free Tibet, about the 1997 two-day benefit show in San Francisco, Smashing Pumpkin guitarist James Iha clearly summarizes the proceedings. "It's hard to expect real serious intentions with a rock concert with millions of kids." Indeed. Most of the thousands in attendance over the weekend didn't know squat, much less care, about the situation in Tibet. As long as they got to see Rage Against the Machine hammer home their political fury or A Tribe Called Quest kick out the jams, everything would be fine. This documentary, which mixes concert footage with backstage and crowd interviews, political lectures, and archival footage of Tibet's downtrodden history, successfully captures both the good intentions of the festival organizers and the ignorant audience reception, i.e., kids more interested in moshing and partying than world peace. As one kids puts it, "I care, ya know, but short attention span." The same unfortunately can be said of Pirozek's approach to all of this. She directs the film like she has ants in her pants, and then cuts it together with a blender. If you want the film to catch live moments by your favorite bands, you'll be disappointed. Pirozek rarely keeps the camera onstage long enough to enjoy the bands. Only Bjork's mesmerizing performance of "Hyper-Ballad" and Sonic Youth's "Bull in the Heather" are played in their entirety; otherwise, bands are interrupted by interviews, speeches, and random bits of Tibetan history. While it's admirable for the documentary to teach its audience along with entertaining with music, its approach is halfhearted on both accounts.

Krishna Das - Pilgrim Heart

Saw Krishna Das back in November. Really great concert! . Theres a lot of torrents for his other albums if you poke around, but this is a good intro to his work if you've never heard his music before.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Huun-Huur-Tu - Throat singing from Tuva

This is a great collection of Throat-singing. Huun-Huur-Tu is often thought to be chanting in Tibetan, but they are actually from Tuva, a Russian republic situated on the Mongolian border.. If you get a chance to see these guys live I would recommend it!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1973)

Keeping on the Buddhist Birds theme I found this gem today. There only seems to be a low qualitly VHS rip of this, but like the poster of the file says, "Better than Nothing."

Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1973)
Jonathan is sick and tired of the boring life in his sea-gull clan. He rather experiments with new, always more daring flying techniques. Since he doesn't fit in, the elders expel him from the clan. So he sets out to discover the world beyond the horizon in quest for wisdom.

VHS rip. 704 Meg

DVD (Better Quality):

The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (2003)

The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (2003)

In San Francisco, there are at least two flocks of largely wild parrots who flock around the city. This film focuses on the flock of cherry-headed conures (and a lonely blue-headed one named Connor) who flock around the Telegraph Hill region of the city and their closest human companion, Mark Bittner . Through his own words, we learn of his life as a frustrated, homeless musician and how he came to live in the area where he decided to explore the nature around him. That lead him to discovering the parrot flock and the individual personalities of it. In a cinematic portrait, we are introduced to his colorful companions and the relationship they share as well as the realities of urban wild life that would change Bittner's life forever.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Little Buddha

This movie has sometimes been refered to as "Buddhist Sunday School". Which is fair I guess. Its a bit campy at times but entertaining.

Lama Norbu comes to Seattle in search of the reincarnation of his dead teacher, Lama Dorje. His search leads him to young Jesse Conrad, Raju, a waif from Kathmandu, and an upper class Indian girl. Together, they journey to Bhutan where the three children must undergo a test to prove which is the true reincarnation. Interspersed with this, is the story of Siddharta, later known as the Buddha. It traces his spiritual journey from ignorance to true enlightenment.

Phorpa - The Cup

Phorpa - The Cup
While the soccer World Cup is being played in France, two young Tibetan refugees arrive at a monastery/boarding school in exile in India. Its atmosphere of serene contemplation is somewhat disrupted by soccer fever, the chief instigator being a young student, the soccer enthusiast Orgyen. Prevented by various circumstances from seeing the Cup finals on television in a nearby village, Orgyen sets out to organize the rental of a TV set for the monastery. The enterprise becomes a test of solidarity, resourcefulness and friendship for the students, while the Lama, head of the monastery, contemplates the challenges of teaching the word of Buddha in a rapidly changing world.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Power of Now (Audio Book) - Eckhart Tolle

Ekhart Tolle's message is simple: living in the now is the truest path to happiness and enlightenment. And while this message may not seem stunningly original or fresh, Tolle's clear writing, supportive voice, and enthusiasm make this an excellent manual for anyone who's ever wondered what exactly "living in the now" means. Foremost, Tolle is a world-class teacher, able to explain complicated concepts in concrete language. More importantly, within a chapter of reading this book, readers are already holding the world in a different container--more conscious of how thoughts and emotions get in the way of their ability to live in genuine peace and happiness.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Buddha's Lost Children

This Movie was brought to my attention by an emailer. As far as I know there are no torrents yet for this film, but just as well. The filmmaker is donating part of the procedes from this film to support the building of a new school at the monastery, where this film takes place. I would encourage people to purchase this film directly from the distributer , link at the bottom.

Buddha’s Lost Children

(NR) 97 min

Directed by Mark Verkerk

Buddha’s Lost Children is a feature-length documentary film about a Thai Buddhist monk who - armed only with his faith and skills and master boxer skills - wages an inspirational battle to help orphaned children, fight drug abuse, and preserve a vanishing way of life.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Stages of Meditation - Dalai Lama

Stages of Meditation - Dalai Lama
Stages of Meditation
is a commentary by the Dalai Lama on a rare text by ninth-century Indian Buddhist scholar Kamalashila, written in Tibet to correct some Chinese misinterpretations of Buddhism that were influential at the time. Kamalashila's short work is not widely known today, but according to the Dalai Lama, it is a most important text, and worthy of study by those new to Buddhism, because "on the basis of this knowledge you will be able to understand other treatises without great difficulty. This text can be like a key that opens the door to all other major Buddhist scriptures."

Throughout the book, the Dalai Lama emphasizes the importance of logical analysis of scriptures, even if they are in the Buddha's own words; some teachings, he stresses, "should not be taken literally, but need interpretation." And this is what he does in this clear and readable commentary, originally given in 1989 and now translated and published for the first time. Its 10 short chapters are on such familiar Buddhist themes as Training the Mind, Compassion, Identifying the Nature of Suffering, and The Practice of Calm Abiding.

"Through meditation," says the Dalai Lama, "we can train our minds in such a way that negative qualities are abandoned and positive qualities are generated and enhanced." Those who practice meditation, whether Buddhist or not, will find this a thoughtful and practical guide, written with the Dalai Lama's characteristic warmth and gentleness



Thursday, March 6, 2008

Jack Kornfield - Meditation for Beginners

Start Meditating Today with This Beginner's Guide. Have you ever thought about trying meditation, but didn't know how to get started? On Meditation for Beginners, trusted teacher Jack Kornfield uses clear language and step-by-step demonstrations to show you how simple it is to start - and stick with - a daily meditation practice. In this complete beginner's course, Jack introduces you to the "Insight" tradition of meditation. Zen monks draw from this same tradition, yet anyone can use its principles to cultivate a profound inner calm, while awakening to the truth of life. Four complete meditation exercises teach you how to work with breathing, posture, attention, forgiveness - even difficult emotions - to create tranquility and clarity in your everyday life. Now you can begin meditating today - in just the time it takes to listen to Meditation for Beginners.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

YOUR BUDDHA NATURE- Jack Kornfield (Audio Book)

YOUR BUDDHA NATURE introduces the listener to the 10 PARAMITAS, or the 10 Perfections of the Buddha. Author and narrator Jack Kornfield is a psychologist, former Peace Corps volunteer, cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society, and a longtime meditation instructor. His voice emanates gentleness, humor, compassion and wisdom. In these 12 lessons, recorded live before students, Kornfield employs storytelling, poetry, mindfulness techniques and teaching parables to present the 10 Perfections. Not theoretical abstractions, the Perfections are practical principles that can be applied to address the complexities and challenges of everyday life. YOUR BUDDHA NATURE provides the listener with a rich, thoughtful experience and a private meditation retreat.

Siddhartha (1972)

Siddhartha (1972)
Siddhartha, adapted from the famous novel by Hermann Hesse, follows the spiritual quest of Siddhartha (Shashi Kapoor), a restless young Brahmin of India who leaves home to find inner peace. The son of a wealthy family, Siddhartha first renounces his possessions and wanders the country as a pilgrim, then indulges in sexual pleasure (with lovely Simi Garewal) and material success, but none of these things gives him what he yearns for. Finally, working as a ferryman across a river, he finds a way of being that calms his spirit. What keeps Siddhartha from being a stilted Cliff Notes version of a literary classic is the gorgeous cinematography of Sven Nykvist, who has worked with Ingmar Bergman, Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, and Louis Malle, among others. His careful eye gives Siddhartha a look that transforms its philosophical searching into a visual poem.