Monday, April 28, 2008

The Sacred Sites of the Dalai Lamas: A Pilgrimage to The Oracle Lake

The Sacred Sites of the Dalai Lamas: A Pilgrimage to The Oracle Lake
Join a spiritual pilgrimage and explore the Tibetan caves where the early Buddhist masters achieved enlightenment. Visit the sacred Oracle Lake where the Dalai Lamas have received prophetic visions. Other major power spots of Tibet include: Potala Johkang Drepung Monastery Nechung Drak Yerpa Valley The caves of Songsten Gampo, Jowo Atisha, and Guru Rinpoche Samye Monastery Lambhu Lagang Castle Ani Sanku Nunnery Lama Tsongkhapa Meditation Cave Tranduk Kangyur Stupa Terdak Lingpa Tashi Lumpo Champa Zhishi Sakya Chokhor Gyal Milarepa s Cave The Oracle Lake Our guides are Steve Dancz (composer for National Geographic), Glenn Mullin (author of over 25 books on Tibetan Buddhism) and Khenpo Tashi (a Bhutanese monk and international teacher.)


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Wheel of Time (2003)

Werner Herzog's mesmerizing documentary chronicles the creation of the Kalachakra sand mandala, a magnificent, intricate work of art constructed in a meticulous ritual through which Tibetan Buddhist monks complete their ordination. The fragile, delicate work, taking place over 12 days in India, is followed by the mandala's total destruction, as the sands that make up the "wheel of time" are scattered as a spiritual blessing. Herzog also conducts a rare, amusing and insightful interview with the Dalai Lama. 80 min.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Path to Happiness: His Holiness the Dalai Lama (2006)

A Path to Happiness: His Holiness the Dalai Lama (2006)
Considered one of the greatest influencers of our time, the Dalai Lama has spent his life teaching people how to be happy. Being happy is not only our right, he teaches, but is clearly the principle force that drives our lives. Our ability to attain a lasting happiness, however, is not so clear. The path of inner transformation begins with developing an understanding of our true nature. Once this door opens, one naturally develops a feeling of compassion and acceptance for oneself and others. In these difficult times, people are looking for answers to finding inner peace and happiness and arguably the greatest teacher shares important insights to getting there.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Angry Monk (2005)

Angry Monk: Reflections on Tibet (2005)

Tibet - the mystical roof of the world, peopled with enlightened monks? Only one of them wouldn't toe the line: Gendun Choephel, the errant monk who left the monastic life in 1934 in search of a new challenge. A free spirit and multifaceted individual, he was far ahead of his time and has since become a seminal figure, a symbol of hope for a free Tibet. A rebel and voluble critic of the establishment, Gendun Choephel kindled the anger of the Tibetan authorities. The cinematic journey through time portrays the life of this unorthodox monk, revealing a face of old Tibet that goes against popular clichés. The film makes an abundance of unique and rare historical footage available to the general public for the first time. But it does not dwell on the past; rather it skilfully oscillates between tradition and modernity. Archival images of ancient caravans and monasteries give way to scenes of discos and multi-lane highways in Lhasa, where pilgrims prostrate themselves as they circle the holy temple. ANGRY MONK offers a fascinating insight into a country whose eventful past is refracted in the multiplicity and contradictions of everyday life. Ultimately, this road movie also tells the story of a man who left home to search for something that could have liberated traditional Tibet from its rigidity. An outsider who was always open to new things, he eventually became a stranger in his homeland and homeless in foreign lands - a wanderer between worlds.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Meetings With Remarkable Men (1978)

The story of G.I. Gurdjieff and his travels to achieve enlightenment and inner growth. Beginning with his childhood, the movie follows his journeys through Central Asia as he discovers new levels of spirituality through music, dance and near-encounters with death.

Concert For India’s Environment

I've been busy this week with work and only seem to have time listen to some music and watch a few short things. I'm really loving Chinmaya Dunster
these days so I poked around you tube and found a nice 3 part concert/documentary on Environment in India with Chinmaya playing in the back. Check it out.
Also a link for more info on the film:

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Heart Sutra by His Holiness Dalai Lama

Heart Sutra by His Holiness Dalai Lama
In Essence of the Heart Sutra, the Dalai Lama translates and interprets a central teaching of Buddhism with his trademark precision and straight talk. In the Heart Sutra, the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara describes how to train in the perfection of wisdom by seeing through the illusions of all things. The Dalai Lama goes through the text passage by passage, after an extensive introduction to the basics of Buddhism and the Mahayana tradition's emphasis on emptiness. This doesn't take long, as the entire sutra covers all of three pages, but the Dalai Lama shows how understanding emptiness is a key to happiness and liberation from suffering. Although Essence of the Heart Sutra does not differ significantly in overall message from previous offerings such as The Meaning of Life and An Open Heart, in this book the Dalai Lama stays focused on the relevance of the Heart Sutra, and who better to explain it than the man reported to be the present-day incarnation of Avalokiteshvara himself.




Friday, April 18, 2008

Thus I Have Heard:The Life & Teachings of Chögyam Trungpa

Thus I Have Heard, Nine Films on the Life and Teachings of Chögyam Trungpa captures the power, the depth, and the brilliance of this remarkable teacher during the seventeen years that he taught in North America. It also conveys his immense gentleness and humor and his capacity to touch the essence of humanness in each of us.


Photographers in Exile - The Tibetan Photo Project

Photographers in Exile - The Tibetan Photo Project
Recognizing that there is much that we can learn from the Tibetans: The goal of The Tibetan Photo Project is to provide the tools and technical education in photography to create a voice from the films and photos by Tibetans. While there have been thousands of great visual works documenting Tibetans, most have been from the perspective of the Western eye. The Tibetan Photo Project is working to present the Tibetans' own perspective through the Website, exhibits, films, DVDs and other visual programs created from their own photographic work or by film and photo efforts directed by Tibetans. Please visit The Tibetan Photo Project at First-time visitors, be sure to visit the update and founders' statement page and the media coverage page to see how The Tibetan Photo Project is growing a voice from the Tibetans.

Dispatches: Repressive Regimes - Undercover in Tibet

Dispatches: Repressive Regimes - Undercover in Tibet
As Tibetan protesters take to the streets in the biggest and most bloody challenge to Chinese rule in nearly 20 years, Dispatches reports on the hidden reality of life under Chinese occupation after spending three months undercover, deep inside the region. Dozens are feared dead after the recent clashes and crackdown by Chinese troops, but with reporting so rigidly controlled from the region little is known of living conditions inside Tibet.

To make this film, Tibetan exile Tash Despa returns to the homeland he risked his life to escape 11 years ago, to carry out secret filming with award-winning, Bafta-nominated director Jezza Neumann (Dispatches Special: China's Stolen Children). Risking imprisonment and deportation, he uncovers evidence of the "cultural genocide" described by the Dalai Lama.

He finds the nomadic way of life being forcefully wiped out as native Tibetans are stripped of their land and livestock and are being resettled in concrete camps. Tibet reveals the regime of terror which dominates daily life and makes freedom of expression impossible. Tash meets victims of arbitrary arrests, detention, torture and "disappearances" and uncovers evidence of enforced sterilisations on ethnic Tibetan women.

He sees for himself the impact of the enormous military and police presence in the region, and the hunger and hardship being endured by many Tibetans, and hears warnings of the uprising taking place across the provinces now.

Google Video:

Message of the Tibetans

Message of the Tibetans
Two films on one DVD, with a choice of English or French dialogue, or Spanish subtitles. The first film is entitled Buddhism, the second Tantrism. In 1963, for the first time, the Dalai Lama allowed a Westerner, Desjardins, to film the heart of the Tibetan tradition. These two films were originally shown on French television in the 1960's and are a wonderful testimony, revealing some of Tibet's foremost masters as they were then. It includes footage of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, the Sixteenth Karmapa, Dudjom Rinpoche, Ling Rinpoche, Chatral Rinpoche, Sakya Trizin, and the yogis Abo Rinpoche and Lopon Sonam Zangpo. The original sixties commentaries have been retained, even though it may sound a bit dated in places.


National Geographic - Tibets Hidden Kingdom

Treasure Seekers: Tibet's Hidden Kingdom (2001)

In the 19th century, as it became aware of the colonial designs of European power on central Asia, Tibet expelled westerners and closed its frontiers. As its isolation deepened, so did Tibet's allure and mystique. But in the early 1900s, Francis Younghusband, a British colonialist, managed to penetrate the hidden city of Lhasa and bring to an end the country's years of isolation.

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying - Sogyal Rinpoche

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying - Sogyal Rinpoche
A clear pool of practical wisdom, this rewarding modern reinterpretation of the classic Tibetan Book of the Dead is a manual on learning to accept death, on caring for the dying, and on spiritual growth. Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist teacher who has lived in the West since 1971, maintains that innermost consciousness, rather than an unchanging soul or ego, survives the death of the body. He draws parallels between contemporary Western near-death experiences and the afterlife journey through the bardos, or intermediate planes between death and rebirth, described in sacred Tibetan texts. Bardos, he further argues, are junctures that also occur continually throughout life, opportunities for liberation present in ordinary daily experiences, in sleep and dreams. Rinpoche outlines a path of spiritual transformation that involves meditation, strengthening of positive karma, compassion, generosity and mental exercises.




Monday, April 14, 2008

The Jewel Tree of Tibet - Robert Thurman

The Jewel Tree of Tibet - Robert Thurman
Based on Thurman's six-lesson retreat on Tibetan Buddhism, this accessible book guides readers through the process of enlightenment. Throughout, Thurman (Inner Revolutions) draws from the Fourth Panchen Lama's text Mentor Devotion to ground his teachings, a surprising choice given that it's an advanced dharma that he concedes is "semiesoteric." Thurman successfully spins the text's interpretation so that it becomes more transparent to a Western audience. He describes Buddhist karma, for example, as "Darwinian evolution with an individual twist," and also cautions readers not to adopt some blissed-out, mind-emptying idea of Buddhism just because they imagine that it's Eastern and therefore superior. "When we seek to enter the path of enlightenment, we have to engage with society." On the other hand, he notes, we also need to embrace ascetics like monks and nuns, and invest generously in their work toward liberation. The book has some truly beautiful moments, as when Thurman encourages readers to meditate on the loving-kindness of their mothers (even the bad mothers, he says, made sacrifices to keep their children alive and fed), or when he offers 11 steps to compassion, love and happiness. Although there are a few hiccups - moments when it becomes obvious that the "root text" of Mentor Devotion is a tricky one indeed - this is a fine tool on the road to enlightenment.

Japanese Temple Bells Album

Another Rapidshare album. I dont have a lot of details for this album. Only that it was made in 1984 and has no cover. But then again, its just some temple bells being rung.

Album: Japanese Temple Bells 8th-17th
Year: 1984

No electronics, games or string and wind instruments ethnic tunes - only single bell strikes in the forest and night noise in the background.
Judging from the title track, recorded it in different temples of Japan is already in the distant 1984. Release wild premium (no cover at all), and I hope very good grace your music collection.

The Buddhist Monks of Maitri Vihar Monastery

This is my first Rapidshare entry. I like rapidshare, but it kind of bypasses the whole sharing thing. Also this CD is for sale on a really cool site called

It bills its self as the the world's first fair trade music company.

The Maitri Vihar Monastery is located in Swoyambu Nath in Nepal and is home to some 50 monks from both Nepal and Tibet. On this CD, producer John Matarazzo presents a compilation of 10 samples of Buddhist liturgical music. Tibetan Buddhism, or Lamaism, is part of Mahayana (Greater Vehicle) Buddhism. This strand of Buddhism is prevalent in the northern and eastern parts of Asia: China, Korea, Japan and, of course, Tibet. A key feature of Mahayana Buddhism is the recognition of savior figures, embodied as Boddhisatvas. These are enlightened ones who have chosen to remain in this world in order to realize the release of the rest of mankind from the cycle of rebirth as well. In the course of its history Tibetan Buddhism -- borrowing from the Tantric traditions as well -- has developed an elaborate system of ceremonies, of which chanting is an integral part. Most of the selections on Tibetan Mantras and Chants are chants by a choir composed of the temple's resident monks. Apart from a cappella performances, some of the mantra chants are accompanied by bowls and cymbals. The closing track is a short instrumental number featuring the famous ceremonial horns and cymbals. The CD's tracks vary in length from one-and-a-half minute for the instrumental performance to over a quarter of an hour for the three extended choir chants. It is a pity that the descriptions given leave much to be desired for. We have to satisfy ourselves with extremely brief characterizations like "Three Mantra Chant," "Buddhist Monk's Choir" and "Triad Mantra Chant." I for one would like to know which mantras and from which Suttras the monks' choir is chanting, for which purpose these chants are performed, what is their religious significance, etc. The producer or label would have done well if they had included an explanatory flyer addressing such issues. Now all we are just left with some arcane and exotic sound bits from a -- for most of us -- enigmatic religious tradition.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sheila Chandra - Discography

Its been a while since a music post appeared so I gonna pop this collection in from Shelia Chandra.

Approaching the voice as an instrument, British-born Indian Sheila Chandra brings an expansive, timeless quality to this collection of improvised songs based on ragas and modern folk music. Most of the tracks, outside of the drone, are unadorned--as is Chandra's pretty voice, simple in its low tone and unaffected in vocal style. Still, Chandra travels to expansive places, reliving her days as Monsoon's lead singer on "Ever So Lonely/Eyes/Ocean." Though Chandra revisits British and Celtic music, her voice is at its strongest when borrowing from traditional Indian vocal technique and ragas. "Bhajan" is a soothing hymn with drone as are "Sacred Stones" and "Om Namaha Shiva," proving Chandra has indeed succeeded in connecting to ancestral voices for a lovely, meaningful album.

Breath Sweeps Mind:The intimate heart of Zen- Jakusho Kwong

Breath Sweeps Mind:The intimate heart of Zen- Jakusho Kwong
From a Dharma successor to the late Shunryu Suzuki-roshi (author of the classic Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind) comes Breath Sweeps Mind, an invitation to experience the living presence of a true Zen master. With more than 40 years of experience practicing traditional Zen, Jakusho Kwong-roshi removes some of the mystery surrounding this enigmatic philosophy through clear instruction in its core principles and how it relates to our everyday world, including methods of zazen meditation, why delusion is inseparable from enlightenment, turning our light inward, and more. Breath Sweeps Mind presents a refreshing and easily accessible transmission of Zen practice to help us return to our own profundity – which is always with us – and realize the richness of this very moment.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Zen Noir (2004)

Zen Noir (2004)
A nameless 'noir' detective, still mourning the loss of his wife, investigates a mysterious death in a Buddhist temple, but his logical, left-brained crime-solving skills are useless in the intuitive, non-linear world of Zen.

If David Lynch, Jim Jarmusch and the Buddha ever got together to make a film, this would be it. Zen Noir is that rare movie which engages you on every level – mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. And it's also funny as hell!! Rosenbush has a thorough understanding of both the noir genre AND zen practice, and he has managed somehow to merge them inside a single story. The gorgeous, powerful visuals and beautiful, haunting score reminded me of Bertolluci's Little Buddha, but with less sentimentality and more belly laughs. Deep and slapstick, sad and surreal, this is a truly inspiring work of art.

Friday, April 11, 2008

One: The Movie (2005)

This looks like an interesting film. There's interviews with some big names being interview here, Ram Dass,
Deepak Chopra, Robert Thurman, Thich Nhat Hahn and many others. Let me know what you think if you get a chance to watch it.

In a divided post 9-11 world, first-time filmmaker Ward Powers asks life's ultimate questions of world renowned spiritual leaders and ordinary people. ONE: The Movie weaves the diverse answers, exploring topics of war and peace, fear and love, suffering, god, life after death, and the ultimate meaning of life. The answers reflect global diversity, while emphasizing the oneness of humanity.

The Dhamma Brothers (2007)

This looks like a really great film! Its just got released in NewYork and is making the rounds in the USA. If you live in the US check out. Heres a link to there website:

Also heres a link to the trailer:

Shinzen Young - The science of enlightenment meditation buddhism

Shinzen Young - The science of enlightenment meditation buddhism

What is enlightenment? Is it a myth or is it real? On The Science of Enlightenment, you will learn that the liberated state is as real as the sensations you are having right now. For it is through the investigation of your own thoughts and feelings that you can awaken to clear insight and a happiness independent of conditions: the state of enlightenment. Through his expertise in both science and spirituality, meditation teacher Shinzen Young demystifies the principles of awakening hidden within the world's great spiritual traditions and shows you how to use them in your own life.

Here, in an unequalled 12-tape course covering traditional teachings, scientific insights, and practical instruction, you will test for yourself the discoveries of the great wisdom traditions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Jewish mysticism, Sufism, Hinduism, shamanism, and many others. Why issingle-pointed concentration so highly regarded on every contemplative path? How do you move beyond emotional/intellectual blocks and into a state of highest presence? Where do psychic powers and other mystical phenomena fit in the architecture of enlightenment? How do you know if your meditation practice is working?

On The Science of Enlightenment, Shinzen Young elucidates these questions with precision and intelligence, demonstrating why he is regarded as one of the Western world's most articulate and understandable teachers of classical mystical experience. The search for awakening is not limited to a chosen few. It is a field open for you to investigate - once you possess theinner technologies to do so. Now you can begin that investigation, with The Science of Enlightenment. Six complete guided meditation sessions.


Peaceful Stillness of the Silent Mind - Lama Yeshe

This is actually only one of many Buddhist Ebooks I stumbled upon. lozory over on The Pirate Bay has been posting quite a few Buddhist Ebooks. His name will link you too them so you can take a look for yourself.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Ten years in the making, this feature-length documentary was filmed during a remarkable nine journeys throughout Tibet, India and Nepal. CRY OF THE SNOW LION brings audiences to the long-forbidden "rooftop of the world" with an unprecedented richness of imagery... from rarely-seen rituals in remote monasteries, to horse races with Khamba warriors; from brothels and slums in the holy city of Lhasa, to magnificent Himalayan peaks still traveled by nomadic yak caravans. The dark secrets of Tibet's recent past are powerfully chronicled through riveting personal stories and interviews, and a collection of undercover and archival images never before assembled in one documentary. A definitive exploration of a legendary subject, TIBET: CRY OF THE SNOW LION is an epic story of courage and compassion.


The Ultimate Dimension: An Advanced Dharma Retreat on the Avatamsaka and Lotus Sutras - Thich Nhat Hanh

Heres a brand new Thich Nhat Hanh release from zoroastres2. Looking forward to listing to this.

Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, presents an advanced new audio learning retreat with this complete series of Dharma talks on two of Buddhism’s most beloved texts, the Lotus Sutra and the Avatamsaka Sutra. Here, he discusses: "interbeing" and the transcendence of self, the practice of non-practice, overcoming the fear of death, mindfulness as the key to nirvana, and more.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Anthony De Mello - Wake Up To Life

Anthony De Mello is one of those guys that bridges the gap between religions of all faiths. Major thanks to Efi for pointing me to this!

Finally, here is the first audio recording of a full-length,live de Mello conference, the tapes which his audiences have requested for years. Even though de Mello gave
innumerable workshops around the world, he never allowed any of his talks to be recorded. In 1986 at Fordham University in New York, he allowed this conference to be videotaped by a professional television company. On these tapes, you will hear Tony de Mello at his best, just himself, completely at home with a responsive audience.


Fr. Anthony de Mello, S.J. (1931 to 1987) was a Jesuit priest and psychotherapist who became widely known for his books on spirituality. He hosted many spiritual retreats and was considered by some a gifted public speaker. Father de Mello was born in Santa Cruz, a suburb of Mumbai in India. He traveled to many countries to study and later to teach, most notably Spain and the United States.

De Mello established a prayer center in India. He died suddenly in 1987. His works are still in print and additional writings were published after his death.
Please seed this file for as long as you can. As far as I know, these are the only Anthony De Mello MP3s available on the net. Amazing stuff indeed!


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Spontaneous Awakening - Adyashanti

I had this on my MP3 player for my last trip to India and I found it really helpful. Kind of forgot that I still had it. Thanks to qq for the heads up on this link.

These 11 lessons from Adyashanti were recorded live. They include lectures, personal stories, interviews, and guided meditations. While the content of the lectures will be familiar to listeners already versed in Zen or Eastern spirituality, Adyashanti's explanations are quite lucid, even homely, making difficult concepts readily accessible even for those new to them. Sound quality is uniformly high, and the recordings capture much of his warmth and spontaneity. His excitement for spirituality and his eagerness to share with his listeners are apparent. It is especially nice to hear jokes, or to hear Adyashanti fumble a term and then laugh at himself.

The Tao of Wisdom - Alan Watts

Here's a great collection of Alan Watts talks and film talk "Time and the more it Changes" (1972). It seems to come from a CD-ROM produced some time ago. There's an immense amount of talks here totaling 576 MG. If you like listing to Alan Watts then your in luck! I also found a great number of his videos online here:

Shakuhachi - The Japanese Flute - Kohachiro Miyata

Lets move away from the nastiness of the world for a second and listen to some peaceful music. This is a collection of great Shakuhachi (The Japanese Flute) masters. Some may find the sharp pitch of the flute a little annoying but I find it most calming. Enjoy!

Tibet Riot Documentrary

I'm not even sure this belongs here but I came across it last night. Its footage shot inside Tibet during the riots. It comes from Chinese State run Television and is pure propaganda! It shows the obvious Tibetan frustration of the past 50 years and the dumbfounded Chinese residents who cant understand why these Tibetans are so angry. I wont get to deep into this, I'll lose my Bodhi mind otherwise. Let me know what you think?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Tantra of Gyuto (1985)

This Documentary from 1985 is a pretty poor quality VHS rip. If you like the inner workings of Tibetan Buddhism then this ones for you.

This documentary covers the Tibetan tantric monks and their spiritualism. Includes an introduction by the Dalai Lama along with various coverage of historic events.

ISO Hunt

Zen ebooks

A fine collection of Zen ebooks. Including Zen mind, beginner's mind, a book thats always within arms reach for me.

Zen ebooks
Empty Cloud, The Teachings Of Zen Master Xu Yun.pdf
Eugen Herrigel - Zen in the Art of Archery.pdf
Hyakujo. The Everest of Zen, with Basho's Haikus.pdf
James Austin - Zen & The Brain.pdf
Robert M. Pirsig - Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.pdf
Shunryu Suzuki - Zen mind, beginner's mind.pdf
Snyder, Gary - The Practice of the Wild [Zen Buddhism].pdf
Suzuki, T D- Buddhism - Manual Of Zen Buddhism.pdf
The Zen Teaching of Rinzai.pdf
Zen Intro to Buddhism & Practice of Zazen.pdf
Zen Stories to Tell Your Neighbors.pdf

Sacred Ceremonies: Ritual Music Of Tibetan Buddhism

Lying in the shadows of the magnificent Himalayas, the village of Dharamsala is at the heart of Tibetan Buddhism. In this modest village where the first great rock wall of the Himalayas rises up from the plains of India, the Dalai Lama lives in exile among numerous followers. From the center of town, a rugged pathway leads to the Dip Tse Chok Ling Monastery School, home to over forty monks and students who have dedicated their lives to spiritual growth and contemplation. Sacred Ceremonies: Ritual Music of Tibetan Buddhism crosses the threshold of this sanctuary to explore the vibrant sounds of the monks' ancient musical meditations with clarity and sensitivity. Digitally recorded on location by David Parsons, these performances of six traditional rituals resonate with a wide variety of tone colors and techniques mastered through the ancient art of multiphonic chanting. This powerful sound is believed to emanate only from those who have attained a wisdom that transcends the self. Each vocalist produces a chord encompassing two or three tones through the intricate manipulation of overtones. Breathing plays an integral part in the creation of this remarkable sound; even the gya ling (Tibetan oboe) players use circular breathing to produce continuous tones from their instruments. The musical meditations are enhanced by rousing blasts of the dung chen, a pair of twelve foot long metal trumpets. Dramatic beats from bass drums and stirring splashes from large cymbals add to the sonic intensity of these exhilarating rituals.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Windhorse (1998)

Windhorse (1998)
A remarkable film produced under remarkable conditions, Windhorse dares to present a realistic and scathingly critical depiction of Chinese oppression in Tibet. It's obvious from the opening credits that director Paul Wagner (Oscar®-winning producer of the 1984 documentary short The Stone Carvers) has a message to deliver about the plight of Tibet, and his clunky filmmaking serves a formulaic, melodramatic story. Set in 1998, it's a simple tale, accessible to a wide audience, in which a young Tibetan singer named Dolkar (Dadon) is a rising star on the Chinese-owned nightclub circuit, growing too comfortable with her own integration into Chinese society in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa. Her grandfather had been killed by the Chinese in 1959 for protesting against Chinese occupation, and now, 18 years later, her brother Dorjee (Jampa Kelsang) is aimless and unemployed, hating the Chinese and powerless to do anything about it. Their cousin Pema (played by an actress who must remain unidentified) is a Tibetan nun who is imprisoned and severely beaten for her outspoken protest against China and defiant embrace of the Dalai Lama as her religious leader. She is released to her family, weakened and on the verge of death, and her testimony about Chinese brutality is videotaped by a sympathetic American tourist (Teije Silverman). In depicting this dangerous activity, Windhorse becomes a vehicle for global awareness of Tibet's ongoing oppression. This personal history and family turmoil provides an intimate perspective on the Tibetan cause, and much of the film was shot illegally in Tibet with digital home-video cameras, under the noses of the Chinese police. Many of the Tibetan actors and crewmembers remain unnamed in the credits to protect their identities, and this clandestine production strategy gives Windhorse a sense of urgent authenticity, also resulting in a variety of interesting anecdotes in Wagner's audio commentary, recorded with cowriter/coproducer Julia Elliot and exiled Tibetan cowriter Thupten Tsering. The result is more of a human-rights treatise than a truly satisfying movie, but Windhorse retains enough dramatic impact to provide a powerful and still controversial look at a political crisis that remains stubbornly unsolved.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Krishnamurti Interviews - PBS 1974 (18 episodes)

Not sure why I haven't thought of including any Krishnamurti in this blog? I was really into him 10 years ago but I settled into a Zen practice. But if you've never heard K speak hes a breath of fresh air. Special thanks to Craig for pointing this one out!

At a time of unprecedented outer change in the political and social atmospheres, is there a fundamental inner change that is demanded of each one of us? In the eighteen dialogues with Professor Allan W. Anderson, Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies at San Diego State University, J. Krishnamurti indicates that pinning our hopes on organized religion, science, political ideology or the market economy not only fails to address basic human problems but actually creates them. The way out of our difficulties, Krishnamurti states, can only start in the mind of each one of us, in awareness of the way we actually perceive life, ourselves and others. Professor Anderson, throughout these dialogues, refers to many passages of Western and Eastern religious scriptures that he believes have been misunderstood and which in fact support Krishnamurti's statements. The dialogues took place at San Diego State University from 18 to 28 February 1974.


Pilgrimage - A Josh Lowell Film

When I'm not sitting in front of my computer or on my Zafu.
I'm outside in nature and one of favorite things to do is climb. This documentary about world class climber, and self professed Buddhist, Chris Sharma, is an excellent insight into the climbers mind. Shot in Hampi, India.

This groundbreaking climbing movie combines world-class action with a rare and inspiring view into the mind of this extraordinary climber. Along with friends Katie Brown and Nate Gold, Sharma has come to explore the infinite possibilities of this place among ancient Hindu temples

Chris Sharma is known for his spiritual nature and climbing philosophy as expounded in a journal commissioned by Climbing Magazine in 2003. He often uses visualization and meditation techniques before attempting especially difficult routes or boulder problems, and becomes very personally invested in projects, sometimes attempting them for weeks or months before attaining the ascent (see Realization and Es Pontas).


Metta Meditation: Opening the Heart

This is the second gem I found today. Once again a short film about Metta Meditation and community service.

Metta means loving kindness and is a simple, direct and reasonable meditation practice that opens the heart in friendliness to oneself, to others, and to all of life. When practiced mindfully, metta develops tranquility and concentration, provides a way to work with anger and fear, and serves as a means to experience the interrelatedness of life. Traditionally, metta mediation is taught by stories from personal experience - stories that elucidate the method and meaning of the practice, as well as bringing much laughter and, sometimes, poignant tears.

Sylvia Boorstein is a best-selling author and contributor to the Shambhala Sun. Her books include That’s Funny, You Don’t Look Buddhist, and the up-coming Pay Attention, For Goodness Sake. Sylvia is a psychotherapist, and is a teacher and co-founder of Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Marin, California, as well as a senior teacher at the Insight Meditation Center in Barre, Massachusetts. She is both a sought after Buddhist teacher and an observant Jew.


Thursday, April 3, 2008

Zen Buddhism: Chop Wood, Carry Water

Zen Buddhism: Chop Wood, Carry Water
Known for its spare and beautiful aesthetic, the Zen Buddhist practice of zazen embodies a paradoxical approach - “the truth that can be told is not the truth.” The meditation technique is utterly simple, cultivating direct, undiluted, primary experience. The essence of the practice is to relax the mind by not striving, planning, or strategizing, but by acting simply and directly - just sitting, just walking.

Zoketsu Norman Fischer is a Zen priest and abbot, a husband, father, poet, and author. He is a senior dharma teacher a the San Fransisco Zen Center, where he was abbot from 1995-2000. He has published eight volumes of poetry, including the work “Opening to You: Zen-Inspired Translations of the Psalms,” which reflects his interest in interreligious dialogue, as does his work as co-author of “Benedict’s Dharma: Buddhists Comment on the Rule of St. Benedict.” Norman is the founder of the Bay Area’s Everyday Zen Foundation which is dedicated to sharing the Zen attitude, spirit, and practice in a mutually transformative dialogue with the world.

He is also guiding teacher to the Mountain Rain Zen Community in Vancouver, BC; the Bellingham Zen Practice Group in Washington; Mar de Jade in Mexico; and The New York Zen Circle. In 2003, Harper San Fransisco will publish Norman’s new book on spiritual mentoring.



Words of my Perfect Teacher - Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Words of my Perfect Teacher - Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
From the World Cup to the mythical mountain kingdom of Bhutan, Words of My Perfect Teacher follows three students on a quest for wisdom. The only catch is the teacher. Soccer obsessed, charismatic filmmaker and citizen of the world, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche may be one of the world’s most eminent Buddhist teachers, but it’s a job description he slyly rejects at every turn. Featuring appearances by Bernardo Bertolucci and Steven Seagal. Filmed in the UK, Bhutan, Canada, the US, and the World Cup playoffs in Germany. Set to a world beat with music by Sting, Tara Slone & Joy Drop, Steve Tibbets, U.Man.Tek, Kunga 19, and others. Words of My Perfect Teacher is for those who wish they’d met Yoda or Merlin, and long for the opportunity to engage with a teacher who defies convention. Words of My Perfect Teacher was made during the course of a year that included attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, months of tension as India and Pakistan went to the brink of nuclear war, a stock market drop that plunged the world to new depths of economic uncertainty, and the US war on Iraq. If ever there was a time to inspire students to "wake up" and learn the wisdom necessary to engage in compassionate activity, this was that year. The film’s point of view is inspired by Buddhist philosophy — which says that we can’t really change human behavior until we learn to deal with our mind. The mind is the starting point of all suffering and the source of closed hearts and entrenched views. Buddhist philosophy also says that to study the mind and walk a path toward enlightenment, you need a teacher. Though filmmaker Lesley Ann Patten sets out to make a film about her teacher, Khyentse Norbu, he soon turns the tables, and the film becomes part of the filmmaker’s own quest for spiritual growth. Words of My Perfect Teacher lets us share this quest as we accompany Patten on a delightful and intimate adventure.


Secret Towers Of The Himalayas (Discovery 2003)

Secret Towers Of The Himalayas (Discovery 2003)
Frederique Darragon is a French explorer known for her documentary film The Secret Towers of the Himalayas, which chronicled her expedition of the mystifying stone towers of Sichuan and Tibet. She wrote a book also titled The Secret Towers of the Himalayas. She is founder and president of the Unicorn Foundation, where profits from the film were contributed. She is the co-founder of the Sichuan University Unicorn Heritage Institute.

She made several important discoveries. By carbon-dating bits of wood from the internal structure of the towers, she confirmed that they were built 500 to 1,100 years ago. The fact that many of the towers have survived hundreds of earthquakes and tremors over the years, is probably due to their star-shaped design as well as to their construction method which intersperses masonry with wood planks or beams – an anti-seismic technique specific to this part of China and still employed in the region today. Combined with the vast numbers and size of the towers, this is evidence that a sophisticated civilization once existed in these remote areas.

Darragon believes these areas are now sure to become a major tourist attraction and has lobbied for the towers to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for their protection and preservation.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Himalaya Soundtrack - Bruno Coulais

Himalaya Soundtrack - Bruno Coulais
Using Tibetan incantations, Mr. Bruno Coulais has composed some of the best musical scores I have ever listened. Every piece of music depicts the real life struggles of these people of Dolpo. The compositions are so strong, so natural, sometimes so haunting, it draws you ever closer to these people. To those magnificent and breathtaking sceneries, Mr. Coulais has added another dimension; his music tells the story, the drama, the struggles of life in its true authentic way of life of the Tibetans. With each piece of music you travel along with the caravan, singing their songs, sharing their moments of joy and sorrow. Unlike other soundtracks this one really belongs to the people of Dolpo.


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Adi Shankaracharya (1983)

Adi Shankaracharya (1983)
Based of the life of one of the greatest thinkers the Indian sub-continent has ever know, Adi Shankarcharya is a stunning achievement in the annals of world cinema. It is also the only film ever made in the classical Sanskrit language. By the 8th century, Hinduism had become a slave to Brahim cults rather than as the all - embracing philosophy of mankind that it was originally conceived as and was thelogically challenged by other belief system including Buddhism. It was into this scenario that Shankaracharya was born. His father made him practice Brahmin rituals. Upon his father's death, the young Shankaracharya was led to reflect upon life and death, the body and soul through philosophical texts. In a quest to broaden his knowledge, he renounced the world and set out on a life and mind affirming journey with death and wisdom as his twin companions. On the way he wrote several commentaries that have changed the way mankind looks at religion and theism and the eternal quest for inner turth. Today there are several centers across the world devoted to the propagation of Shankaracharya's teachings Director : G. V. Iyer himself renowned as the philosopher - Filmmaker of Indian cinema- treats the subject with the asceticism it deserves yet makes it accessible. Accompanied by a resonant soundtrack of Chandts based on the Indian Vedas, The film works both as and audio - visual cinematic experience and as a profound journey of the mind. Adi Shankaracharya was deservedly given the Indian national Award for Best Feature Film, Best Cinematography, Best Audiography and Best Screenplay

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Himalaya with Michael Palin (2004)

You might think that Michael Palin has visited pretty much every nook and cranny of the globe by now, but not so: he's managed to find a few previously unexplored hectares in Himalaya, his latest jaunt for the BBC. Here the format, established originally in his Phileas Fogg-inspired Around the World in 80 Days, remains unchanged: always affable, seemingly unflappable, Palin journeys through the various countries along the world's greatest mountain range, getting friendly with everyone he meets and offering gently witty, gently affectionate observations on the customs and cultures he encounters. From the Khyber Pass through dangerous territory along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, via Nepal then up into Tibet to Everest and down into China, and finally to Bangladesh, Palin is, as ever, unfazed by whatever the world has to throw at him, be it chaotic bull-racing in Peshawar, the threat of kidnap by Maoist rebels in Nepal, Tibetan Yak herding, or rafting down the Yangtze. Even if both the once indefatigable traveller and the programme format itself seem a little tired at times (in Palin's case probably a side-effect of the high altitudes), the trek still provides manna from heaven for armchair travellers.