Thursday, July 28, 2011

Amongst White Clouds...

Because of all the crimes against humanity, and crimes against Buddhism perpetrated by China in Tibet, it is FAR too easy and over-simplistic to view China as 'the enemy'.

It is true that A particular Chinese regime has done all these unspeakable things [and we must speak of them]. But today i want to consider something else...

And it is this: Truth can NEVER be entirely extinguished!

Even though we walk through this valley of tears, and the age in which we live is a Dark Age indeed, there is always Truth glimmering away [however faint]. Maybe it glimmers in a remote place, but it shines.

And this is the main point... I had always believed that the Chinese had succeeded in totally wiping out their own national form of Chinese Buddhism. But not so.
CHAN Buddhism had come directly from India and flourished within China itself. It had also given birth to the more famous Zen which took root in Japan, Korea and Viet Nam.

So, as you can imagine, I was beyond thrilled some years ago when a new Buddhist DocuFilm was released by a very young American man named Edward Burger. 

The docu movie was called AMONGST WHITE CLOUDS. And that is precisely where this determined boy had to go in the most remote places to find the remnants of Chan in the caves in the lofty peaks of China's Zhongnan Mountains.
But what he found was not just a remnant. It is an authentic practice lineage that is very much alive amongst a small quasi community of hermits and retreatants dotted around the area. 
Serious Chan meditation practitioners are devoting their whole lives to this path, and are reaching nothing less than Buddhahood ... full awakening to the vast present moment.

And so, a young man called Burger equipped with a video camera and basic provisions - and, at first, very rudimentary Chinese language skills - set off to China. Following urban dharma myths, keen hunches and gut instinct - and not even really knowing where the mountain range was - Edward somehow managed to rediscover and document this incredible group of practitioners. Not only is it a miracle that they exist at all, but that they had kept the authentic Chan tradition alive throughout China's turbulent past.

I will certainly be proposing Amongst White Clouds for inclusion in the first BUDDHIST FILM FESTIVAL, DUBLIN in 2012.

Someone has kindly shared the whole movie on YouTube. HERE 
Of course it may not be there for long, so enjoy it all while you can [... more Buddhist wisdom??]
I just loved, loved, loved this film!

 

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