General Buddhism => General Buddhism => Topic started by: Aurore on October 21, 2012, 03:48:12 PM

Title: Buddhist Movies
Post by: Aurore on October 21, 2012, 03:48:12 PM
I've recently watch the Matrix again and have found it to be one of the most Buddhist films ever made.
Here are some dialogues you guys probably can recognise and translate:-

Morpheus: The body cannot live without the mind.

Oracle: You've got the gift but it looks like you are waiting for something.
Neo: What?
Oracle: Your next life maybe, who knows? That's the way these things go.

Morpheus: It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes, to blind you from the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else, you were born into bondage, born into a prison that you cannot smell, or taste, or touch... a prison for your mind.

Cypher : You know, I know this steak doesn't exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain... that it is juicy... and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize? Ignorance is bliss.
Agent Smith : Then we have a deal?
Cypher: I don't want to remember nothing. Nothing. You understand? And I wanna be rich... you know, someone important. Like an actor.

Morpheus: The mind has trouble letting go.

Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.


Morpheus: Do you believe in fate, Neo?
Neo: No.
Morpheus: Why not?
Neo: Because I don't like the idea that I'm not in control of my life.

Oracle: You'll remember you don't believe in any of this fate crap. You're in control of your own life, remember?

I am sure there are many more movies that was made based on the Buddhist concepts. Anyone has others to share?
Title: Re: Buddhist Movies
Post by: DSFriend on October 21, 2012, 05:26:06 PM
Star Wars is heavily based in buddhist philosophy from the story, to the robes, the language etc., I love movies such as Matrix and Star Wars (
10 Buddhist References in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.
Comment : This link has some political interpretation to the star wars story. (
Star Wars, Avatar and Buddhism
Comment : This article is quite informative. It brings out the influence of foundational buddhism and glimpses of bodhisattva paths.
Title: Re: Buddhist Movies
Post by: buddhalovely on October 26, 2012, 11:19:33 PM
More examples are:

8. The Cup. Talk about good credentials for authenticity! Written by Buddhist monk Khyentse Norbu, who is the director of several spiritual centers in India and elsewhere, it features a group of young Tibetan monks playing a young group of Tibetan monks in Dharamsala, India, the exiled community of the Dalai Lama. The Cup is a refreshing and delightful antidote to more reverent and cautious films about Buddhist monastic life. In their daily life at the monastery, despite their relatively austere setting, and the gravity of their religious responsibility, we see that the monks are also regular boys - squirming with impatience during meditation, being playful, and acting rebellious. They are also obsessed with soccer. One of them, Orygen (Jamyang Lodro, whose father is an eminent Buddhist philosopher, and also in the film) is determined to watch the World Cup between France and Italy. After being caught trying to sneak out to see it with two friends, the abbot decides to allow him to bring the World Cup to the monastery by renting a television set from a local village.

The monks watch the action excited and enthralled, and there is a funny and memorable scene in which they try frantically try to get reception by struggling with a roof antenna. The Cup is about important subjects like the effects of globalization on ancient traditions, but it is also lighthearted and fun. The juxtaposition of devout religious practice with more seemingly mundane activities like watching sports is endearing, and actually constitutes a valuable lesson about not taking ourselves too seriously even in the midst of serious spiritual endeavors.

7. The Dhamma Brothers. (Not yet available on DVD.) This recently released documentary ably demonstrates the transformative efficacy of meditation on even the most unlikely candidates. Two teachers of Vipassana, known in America as "insight meditation," teach a nine-day retreat at an Alabama maximum security prison renowned for its harshness and violence. The teachers actually move into the prison, living and sleeping there. They inform the prisoners that the retreat, in which strict silence is required, will be more rigorous and disciplined than their regular schedule. The results are pretty miraculous. The participants find emotional wellsprings opening up, and their descriptions of the experience of intense meditation are extremely moving. Many of these men, who have committed crimes like murder and rape, will never see the outside again, and so the only prison they have a chance to escape is the one the mind creates. They even win over the skeptical guards (one says he has not heard this much silence "since kindergarten"!). With success comes controversy, as the Bible Belt southerners react against the "witchcraft" of the Buddhist converts. With Buddhism take increasing root in America, hopefully we will see more movies like this one about the practical application of a Western brand of the Dharma.

6. Peaceful Warrior. Upon its release, many critics dismissed this as a New Age trifle, but unfortunately they weren't listening and watching closely enough. Take from Dan Millman's incredibly popular book The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, the film tells the semi-autobiographical story of a talented and driven college gymnast (Scott Mechlowicz) who is in a horrific car accident and realizes he may never compete again. Forced to re-evaluate the way he lives, he turns for help to an unusual and mysterious spiritual mentor he calls Socrates (Nick Nolte), whom he met in a gas station. This kind of crisis, in which one must re-examine one's purpose, is familiar to most; however, the kind of advice and wisdom dolled out by Socrates is less conventional and actually quite worthwhile. There are some silly scenes, such as when the mentor does a parlor trick and seemingly teleports himself to the roof of the garage. But what Dan learns - deep acceptance of the changes we cannot control, and equanimity when faced with difficult realities - are authentic lessons, not flaky hokum, and will hold up to the scrutiny of anyone who knows the basics of Zen Buddhism. The teachings mostly center around the complex difficulties involved in doing the most simple thing - being in the present moment.

It is not especially sophisticated stuff, but is philosophically consistent throughout and can serve as an inspiring introduction to Eastern types of thinking. Nolte, always an underrated actor, does a terrific, understated job with a role that could have descended into parody in lesser hands. Three great scenes to watch for: Socrates takes a cue from Jesus when faced with a couple of hoodlums, and surprises the hell out of his apprentice; Socrates throws a screaming Dan into a river, and then tells him his name for the experience is "Yaaaaaaaaaaah!"; and Dan sits on the hood of his car for hours literally waiting for some insight, any insight, to arrive.

5. Wheel of Time. Thousands of faithful Buddhists and spiritual pilgrims flood from the Himalayas into Bodh Gaya, where the Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment, to hear the Dalai Lama speak at a bi-annual ceremony in which Tibetan monks will be initiated into the fold. Werner Herzog, who has created some amazing documentaries such as Grizzly Man and Little Dieter Needs to Fly, here turns his considerable skills to the extended Tibetan Buddhist community. We hear Herzog's signature hypnotic voiceovers, equal parts quiet contemplation and determined curiosity, as we watch followers arrive, meditate, and pray while awaiting the Dalai Lama's appearance. Herzog is particularly fascinated with an intricate mandala being built for the occasion, known as the "wheel of time;" but despite some attempts he doesn't really create any penetrating insights or explicate the philosophical concepts at work with the mandala or elsewhere. Instead, moving the camera intimately among the throngs of followers, Herzog communicates the physical and emotional textures of quiet and powerful devotion. This is enough.

The level of commitment and perseverance will strike Western viewers; one remarkable sequence portrays a man who has traveled three years, ritually prostrating himself across thousands of miles, to be at Bodh Gaya. When the Dalai Lama ultimately cannot appear because of illness, the moment is heartbreaking, but the crowd's patient reaction makes them all the more impressive.
Title: Re: Buddhist Movies
Post by: Tenzin K on October 27, 2012, 10:41:51 AM
I Heart Huckabees. It's a quirky, odd, hilarious movie about two "detectives" (Bernard and Vivian) that investigate people's existential issues. There, however, is a competing philosopher/existential detective (with an opposite theory. So basically the point of the movie is to see the black and the white in life as well as the bits of white in the black and vice versa and see the grey areas in life. It has a lot of Buddhist/Taosit philosophy in it which is another reason that I like it so much. It's a great movie if you haven't seen I highly recommend it but remember it's a bit "outside the box" to use a tired, old cliche. There is also some strong language in it so if you're offended by the "F" word then don't watch it.

This first scene is between the one "detective," Bernard (Dustin Hoffman) and a client, Albert (Jason Schwartzman):


(Bernard holds up a blanket between his two uplifted arms/hands):

Bernard: Say this blanket represents all the matter and energy in the universe, okay? You, me everything. Nothing has been left out, alright? All the particles, everything.

Albert: What's outside the blanket?

Bernard: More blankets. That's the point.

Albert: Blanket's everything.

Bernard: Exactly. This is everything. Let's just say that this is me, all right? (pushes hand up under the blanket) And I'm, what, 60-odd years old and I'm wearing a gray suit. Blah, blah, blah. And let's say over here, this is you (pokes other hand up under another side of the blanket). And, you're... I don't know, you're 21. You got dark hair, etc. And over here, this is Vivian, my wife and colleague. Then over here, this is the Eiffel tower, right? It's Paris. And this is a war. And this is, uh, a museum. And this is a disease. And this is an orgasm. And this is a hamburger.

Albert: Everything is the same even if it's different.

Bernard: Exactly. But our everyday mind forgets this. We think everything is separate.
Limited. I'm over here. You're over there. Which is true. But it's not the whole truth because we're all connected.

Another scene (the picture above is apart of the scene below):

Tommy: (played by Mark Wahlberg): Don't start with that magic blanket bullshit, okay?

Bernard: It's not magic. It's just the way things are. You and me and the air are actually tiny particles that are swirling around together. Look right here. You see?

Tommy: Okay. But look at the cracks between these particles and the cracks we fall through, the holes of nothingness.

Bernard: Look closer. There are tiny particles connecting the larger cubes.

Tommy: Yeah, and then tinier cracks between the connections.

Bernard: And even tinier connections.

Tommy: And even tinier cracks.

Bernard: Yeah, but if you look close enough, you can't tell where my nose ends and space begins, because they're unified. See?

Albert: So what? You can't see any of this anyway!

Vivian (played by Lily Tomlin): You live all the time with things you can't see. You can't see electricity, can you? You can't see radio waves, but you accept them.

In another scene in between Bernard and Albert:

Bernard: One, your mind is always occupied on something. So it might as well be something useful...

Two, there is no such thing as you and me.

Albert: So then there's nothing?

Bernard: Three, there is no such thing as nothing.

There is no remainder in the mathematics of infinity.


In another scene between Bernard and his wife Vivian:

Vivian: I need facts, Bernard, to piece together a theory.

Bernard: No time for infinity? Gotta piece together a theory?
Title: Re: Buddhist Movies
Post by: Aurore on October 28, 2012, 12:15:11 PM
How would you guys interpret some of the scenes in these movies mentioned?

Example of scene
Morpheus: Do you believe in fate, Neo?
Neo: No.
Morpheus: Why not?
Neo: Because I don't like the idea that I'm not in control of my life.

The Buddhist believes in the concept of karma which means cause and effect. Every action is created by us and we experience the result. If everything is within our control, fate cannot exist. Since each of us is responsible for our own lives, it is possible for us to create the positive conditions and avoid negative conditions for ourselves to bring happiness and peace to ourselves by applying the teachings of the Buddha. We are not controlled by any external power to control our so-called fate.

Here's another awesome quote:-
No fate, it's what we make - Linda Hamilton from Terminator 2
Title: Re: Buddhist Movies
Post by: kris on November 03, 2012, 05:04:56 PM
Thank you all for sharing these information :) It is indeed very interesting to know. We need more movies like to spread the teachings of compassionate and love.
Title: Re: Buddhist Movies
Post by: RedLantern on November 04, 2012, 02:39:44 PM
Buddhist movies have common themes dealing with pain,loss,desire and attachment.Movies about Buddhism will either focus on historical events and people,or the applied teachings in an individual's life.Both are helpful in understanding Buddhist teachings.Here are some of the best Buddhist movies.
Little Buddha- Aside from dealing with a present day situation,the movie also gives a good primer into the life of Buddha.
Milarepa- One of the historical figures in Tibetan Buddhism.This is the first of a two part movie series.
Words of my perfect teacher- A documentary of Kyenste Norbu Rinpoche with some of his students.It is a good insight.into a renowned Buddhist leader
The fountain-  A complicated film that deals with the cyclic nature of samsara and karma.
Although Buddhist teaching can be found in almost all movies,these are ones that hold the teachings front  and centre.