"Buddhist" Films

Some years ago, my sangha used to get together once or twice a year to view a Buddhist film. Arguably, if we understand our life is our practice, just about any film can be a teaching, but the films we watched generally had an obvious Buddhist message. Some films we chose were commercial successes, like Groundhog Day, Siddhartha, and Seven Years in Tibet, but many were relatively unknown, like Shower, Enlightenment Guaranteed, the documentary With One Voice, and Zen Noir.

I just watched a film released in 2017 called Lucky, that I believe fits the category. It asks more deep questions ("Have you ever wondered what it was like before you were born?") than it provides answers, suggesting we must each come to terms with the truth of existence and with non-existence for our selves. The film is particularly poignant because it is about a 90 year old grappling with his uncertain future, closely mirroring actor Harry Dean Stanton's real life as he died at age 91 about the time the film was released. You can read more about the plot and a review of the film by clicking this link to RogerEbert.com.

Once, I was on a retreat at a well-known center in Massachusetts. One of my fellow yogis was a 70-something woman who freely confessed that her interest in Buddhism and Buddhist practice came from deep, gut-wrenching terror in contemplating her own death. Lucky confesses a similar fear. I do not know if the woman found an answer, but in the film, Lucky finds his answer (you will need to watch closely to see it and interpretation is left to the viewer.)

I do not know whether the woman I met practiced into an answer that satisfied her. I do know that the journey we each are on is at once a solo and a communal path. It is solo because each of us must use the laboratory of our unique experience to find our own wisdom and truth. It is communal because we can find others to keep us company and support us.

P.D. James wrote that "All human perplexities are no more than exercises in spiritual geometry." Each of us must work out the equations and proofs for ourselves.

"May you be healthy and strong. May you be happy. May you be peaceful. May you live one day into your answers."

Posted by Deb.