Teaching Buddhism




Papers and Articles on Teaching Buddhism

Teaching Tools
Textbook Reviews
Films, Videos, Slides 
IT Tools

Web Resources
E Journals
E Texts

Buddhist Studies Programs

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Films, Videos, Slides

Film companies with extensive collections of films on Buddhism are listed in their own section, along with information about the films they distribute. Films by other companies are grouped according to topic.
Film Companies, Archives, Collections East Asian Buddhism
General Buddhism Vajrayana and Tibet
Theravada  Buddhism in the West

For more information on Buddhism videos click here to see an annotated audio visual bibliography by Donald K. Swearer in his book The Buddhist World of Southeast Asia.

General Buddhism

Buddhism for Key by Clear Vision.

An educational series to introduce children to the basics tenets and practices of Buddhism (J.B.ed.).

Order information: Web site: http://www.fwbo.org/clear_vision/education.html

The Four Noble Truths. Produced by David Cherniack Productions in association with the Network of Buddhist Organizations (U.K.) and the Office of Tibet (London).

"In July 1996, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama gave two days of teachings on the Four Noble Truths at the Barbican Hall in London. It marked an historic occasion . . .

‘The Four Noble Truths are the foundation of the Buddhist teachings. In fact without the knowledge and experience of the Four Noble Truths, then it is impossible to practice Buddha Dharma . . .Why did the Buddha teach the Four Noble Truths?

We all possess this innate desire to seek happiness and to overcome suffering. The reason why Buddha emphasized the development of a profound insight into the nature of suffering is because there is an alternative, there is a way out, there is a possibility of freedom from that suffering’" (quoted from jacket cover).

Order information: Contact Mystic Fire Video. Phone 1-800-292-9001. Web site: http://www.mysticfire.com/.

Regret to Inform (1998, 72 min.). By Barbara Sonneborn.

A woman’s journey to understand her grief over the death of her husband in the Vietnam war (J.B. ed.).Order information: Contact Sun Fountain Films at 510-548-5908. Web site: http://www.regrettoinform.org/.
    • Reviewed by Marianne Dresser in Turning Wheel: Journal of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship (Winter 2000): 37.
Strive On with Diligence: The Buddha and His Teaching (80 min.). By Ken and Visakha Kawasaki.
A video produced by the Buddhist Relief Mission (BRM), a non-sectarian organization involved with Buddhist charities, education, and welfare projects worldwide. The video includes more than 250 full-olor photographs, music, chanting and art from Buddhist sites around the world (J.B. ed.).
Order Information: Buddhist Relief Mission 2128 Missouri Avenue Flint, MI 48506-3797 U.S.A. Web site: http://home.earthlink.net/~brelief

Three films by Ellen Bruno:
Samsara: A Film about Survival and Recovery in Cambodia (1989, 29 min.).
Satya: A Prayer for the Enemy (1993, 28 min.)
Sacrifice: The Story of Child Prostitutes from Burma (1998, 50 min.

These films explore the lives and suffering of people in Cambodia, Tibet and Burma respectively (J.B. Ed.).Order information: Contact the Film Library. Phone: 800-343-5540. Web site: http://www.brunofilms.com/
    • The films are reviewed by Marianne Dresser in Turning Wheel: Journal of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Winter 2000, p. 37. 
Theravada Buddhism

Footprint of the Buddha: By Peter Montagnon; From the BBC The Long Search Series. 52 minutes (1977).

"This third episode of the widely-acclaimed BBC Long Search series, if used with some caution, can serve as a good introduction to Theravada Buddhism that is suitable for both high school and introductory courses. Filmed on location in Sri Lanka, Footprint of the Buddha conveys some of the essentials of Buddhism through the interpretive eyes of a university professor of anthropology and a distinguished monk:...." (Quoted from film review, full review found in journal; Education About Asia, Vol. 5 (3), Winter 2000; see also book; Ninian Smart (1977). The Long Search. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company)
Order Information: 
Ambrose Video Publishing, Inc. 
28 West 44th Street, Suite 2100. 
New York, NY 10036.
Phone: 800-526-4663 or 212-768-7373
Fax: 212-768-9282

Dancing Through Death: The Monkey, Magic and Madness of Cambodia. Produced/ Directed by Janet Gardner; Sophy Theam, associate producer.

"This is the story of Thavro Phim, who came of age under the Pol Pot regime and lost his father, brother, and grandfather to the blood thirsty Khmer Rouge. What kept him whole after the ordeal was his Buddhist faith and his dedication to Cambodian classical dance where he performs the role of Hanuman, the magical white monkey . . ." (Quoted from Filmakers Library Web site).Order Information: Contact Filmakers Library. 212-808-4980. Web site: www.filmakers.com

Blue Collar and Buddha. Produced by Taggart Seigel.

"This dramatic documentary sensitively explores the dilemma of a community of Laotian refugees, torn between preserving their cultural identity and adapting to their new life in America. Re-settling in Rockford, Illinois, they find their working class neighbors resent their economic gains.

With shocking clarity Rockford’s blue collar workers, many unemployed, voice their hatred of the newcomers, whom they confuse with their former enemies in Vietnam. When the Laotians build a Buddhist temple, the monks are subject to terrorist attacks . . ." (quoted from Filmakers Library Web site.)

Order Information: Contact Filmakers Library. 212-808-4980. Web site: www.filmakers.com

OR Available for rental within the continental US through Cornell University’s South East Asia Video Loan Collection/ Media Services. Web site: http://www.einaudi.cornell.edu/SoutheastAsia/

Buddha and the Rice Planters. 30 min.

A comprehensive look at popular Buddhist traditions of Sri Lanka using a village near Kandy as the locale (quoted from the Center’s Web site).
Order Information: Videos are available for rental from the Audio-Visual Library of the University of Pennsylvania’s South Asia Center. Contact Robert Nichols, Outreach Coordinator. Phone: 215-898-7475. Web site: http://www.southasia.upenn.edu/html/audio-visual_library.html

East Asian Buddhism


See Website http://www.artfilm.org/Art/pic-ryoa.htm or http://www.artfilm.org/
The Land of the Disappearing Budhha - Japan
"If the Buddha of India met the Buddha of Japan, would they recognize each other? To find out, this program talks to the staff in a Tokyo restaurant who keep regular Zen meditation schedules as part of their job, then on to the classical Zen calligraphy, swordfighting, archery and tea ceremony." (HTTP://WWW.AMBROSEVIDEO.COM/displayitem.cfm?vid=264)
Order Information: 
Ambrose Video Publishing, Inc. 
28 West 44th Street, Suite 2100. 
New York, NY 10036.
Phone: 800-526-4663 or 212-768-7373
Fax: 212-768-9282

Japanese History and Literature. Produced by Columbia University’s Project on Asia in the Core Curriculum of Schools and Colleges. 

"This three-program series provides an overview of a fascinating time in Japanese history, covering the years 552 to 1868. For each period, key historical themes are integrated with notable works of literature of the time" (quoted from jacket cover).

The series consists of Classical Japan and the Tale of the Genji (552-1185); Medieval Japan and Buddhism in Literature(1185-1600); Tokagawa Japan and Puppet Theater, Novels and the Haiku of Basho (1600-1868).

Order information: Contact the Annenberg/ CPB Collection. Phone: 800-LEARNER.

A Learning Package of Media Materials on Japan: Religion.

An annotated guide to six films about religion in Japan (J.B. Ed.). Order Information: Contact National Clearinghouse for US Japan Studies. Web site: http://www.indiana.edu/cgi-bin-local/doIsearch.pl?Fetch:/data1/ip/japan/dbase/all_new.html+420623+423060

 Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East? Written and directed by Bae-Yong Kyun. Korea. 1989. In Korean with English subtitles. 135 Minutes. Color. 

"In a remote monastery high up in the mountains an old master, a young monk and an orphaned boy devote themselves to their Buddhist teachings. As the master faces death, he must lead his disciples away from their past ties to the outside world and its rapidly changing values, and point them toward their quest for enlightenment. The title of the film is a Zen koan—an unanswerable riddle that is both a challenge and an aid on the path to spiritual transformation. This magnificent film, astonishingly rich in its formal beauty and affirmation of life, is not only an extraordinary cinematic gem but a transcendent evocation of the mystery and humanity of Zen Buddhism" (quoted from jacket cover).Order information: Cheng and Tsui Company. Email: mailto:orders@cheng-tsui.co. Phone: 800-554-1963 or 617-988-2401.

Vajrayana Buddhism and Tibet

Audio Visual Center of the Bulletin of the Central Tibetan Administration of H.H. the Dalai Lama
Collection of Tibet related films which can be downloaded or purchased.

Films and Videos on Tibet
Site contains links to distributors of films on Tibet. Also includes an article on films about Tibet.

Home to Tibet by Alan Dater and Lisa Merton, New Day Films, 1995. 55 minutes, color.

This film explores the culture and spirit the Tibetan people under Communist Chinese occupation (J.B. Ed.)

Order information: Address: New Day Films, 22D Hollywood Ave., Hohokus, NJ 07423 USA.

    • Reviewed by Phebe Chao in Education About Asia Vol. 2 no. 2, Fall, 1997, p. 82-83.
University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for South Asia
Tibetan Buddhism: Preserving the Monastic Tradition
Tibetan Buddhism: Cycles of Interdependence
Tibetan Buddhism: The Wheel of Life

Order information: Contact the Center for South Asia. Web site: http://www.wisc.edu/southasia/films/index.html. Films available in VHS video format and many in 16 mm format for a reduced price.

The Meridian Trust
A charity dedicated to the preservation of Buddhist culture on film and video. The film archive has a large collection of films on Buddhism, primarily focusing on films about Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan culture. Includes many films featuring the Dalai Lama. The categories covered in the collection are: Buddhist Teachings, Broadcast Films, Documentaries and Talks, Education and Medicine, Tibetan Culture and Politics, and Western Buddhism.

Buddhism in the West

Jews and Buddhism: Belief Amended, Faith Revealed. Chayes Productions. 40 minutes.

"Examines the dramatic surge of interest among American Jews in the spiritual teaching of Buddhism . . . Jews and Buddhism is the first film to interrogate in depth the reasons for this phenomenon . . . and consider its impact on contemporary Jewish thought and practice . . . includes rare footage of the Dalai Lama . . . as well as David Ben Gurion, Alan Ginsberg, Sylvia Boorstein, Rabbi Alan Lew, and many others" (quoted from jacket cover).Order information: Contact Chayes Productions. 360 Grant Avenue, Petaluma, CA 949-6941. Phone: (707) 782-9131. Fax: (510) 549-6941. Email: wcheyes@aol.com

Links to film companies and archives with large collections of films on Buddhism

Asian Educational Media Service
The AEMS site provides an extensive database of audiovisual materials for educators. The database is searchable by title, media type, audience level, subject matter, and geographic region.
The site is described in Education About Asia 5.2 (Fall 2000) : 45-46 in "Bringing Sight and Sound to the Classroom" by Sarah Barbour.

Films for the Humanities and Sciences
Large collection of films for educators, including many on Buddhism.

Order information: Contact Films for the Humanities and Sciences. Phone: 800-257-5126. Web site: http://www.films.com/.
All film descriptions are quoted from the Films for the Humanities and Sciences Web site.
Films include:

Alexandra David-Neel: One Woman’s Journey. 52 minutes, color.

"Born in France in 1868, Alexandra David-Neel was the first woman to be granted the title of Lama in Tibet. During her miraculous 100 years, she traveled extensively through Asia, especially in the Himalayas, where she followed an incredible spiritual path. Using spectacular archival footage, this program traces that path from her early careers as a philosopher and novelist, to her later vocation as a Buddhist monk."Birth of a God: The Dalai Lama. Two part series. For centuries Tibet was a land of mystery—geographically isolated from the world around it, yet an influential force in the shaping of Mongolian and Chinese culture. Using expert commentary, reenactments, maps, artwork, and scenes of monastic and rural life in modern Tibet, this captivating two-part series documents the intricate antecedents and history of the Dalai Lama, from the year 700 to today, within the context of Tibetan, Mongolian, and Chinese history."Buddha in the Land of the Kami (7th-12th Centuries), part 1 of a 5 part series, Japan: Past and Present. 53 minutes, Black and white.
    • Reviewed by Joseph Laker in Education in Asia Vol. 4 no. 2, Fall 1999, pp. 71-73.
Buddhism: Making of a Monk 15 minutes. Color. "In Bangkok, Thailand, young men are initiated into the monastic life of the 2500-year-old Buddhist religion. A young monk tells what influenced him to become a monk, explains the basic precepts of monastic life, and reveals how he plans to use the spiritual and secular education he received to improve the life of his village. The significance of the saffron robe, brass begging bowl, chanting and meditation, and the concept of karma are explained." Choice for a Chinese Woman: Enlightenment in a Buddhist Convent. 36 minutes, color. "Here is an extraordinary portrait of a Chinese teenager from a poor rural family whose future appeared pre-ordained: to follow in the footsteps of her mother. . . . On the spur of the moment, she ran away to a Buddhist convent. This program looks at life inside the convent, at the religious conventions and conviction of a people trained since the Maoist revolution to disdain religion, and at the transformation of a young girl who has found peace in the search for enlightenment."The Dalai Lama: A Portrait in the First Person. 24 minutes, color.  "By the force of his words, he has turned the disaster of the Chinese depredations in Tibet and the tragedy of his own exile from his roots and his spiritual home into a worldwide message of peace and strength. In this program, the Dalai Lama speaks of anxiety, anger, enlightenment, tolerance, and compassion. Your enemy, he says, is your best teacher; true compassion is what you feel toward your enemy."Following the Buddhist Path: Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche. 85 minutes, color. "This program . . . considers the life of the New Kadampa tradition’s charismatic leader, the basic tenets of Buddhism, and the practices of those who have found their answers to life’s mysteries in Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche’s practical message of wisdom and compassion."Hinduism and Buddhism. 54 Minutes, color. "This program, with Huston Smith and Bill Moyers, explores the two great religions to come from India. Smith also uncovers the mysteries of multiphonic chanting among Tibetan lamas, previously unknown in the West . . . Smith also spent ten weeks with a Zen master, where he derived insights that help the viewer understand the way of Zen Buddhism"
    • Reviewed by Joe Gawrys in Education About Asia Vol. 3 no. 1, Spring 1998.
The Holy Mountain of Tibet. 52 minutes, color. "This program follows the trail to Mt. Kailash, also stopping to visit shrines and other sacred sites at Tsararang, the 11th-century capital of the old Tibetan kingdom of Guge at Khojarnat, where a stately cloister remained open despite the Chinese Cultural Revolution; and at Lhasa, whose architecture and rich decorative arts illustrate the Buddhist concept of the world."The Principles and Practice of Zen. 2 hours, color. "An exquisitely presented program that seeks to explain the process leading to satori, demonstrating the rigors and esthetic delicacy, the personal abnegation, and the devotion to principles. Following in the path of a student priest, the program shows the physical and mental disciplines demanded; as the student travels across Japan to engage in verbal contests with priests of different schools, the camera provides a view of the best of temple architecture and introduces the tea ceremony and flower arrangement."A Separate Peace: Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Shintoism. 54 minutes, color. "This program examines the structure and major tenets of these four eastern religious philosophies. . . . The history of Buddhism is traced from the 6th century BC. Reincarnation and nonviolence are discussed as major beliefs . . ."Walking with Buddha. 29 minutes, color. "As the number of immigrants from southeast Asia increases, more and more Americans will come into contact with believers in Theravada Buddhism. This program, filmed in Thailand, looks at the life of the Buddha and traces the development of Buddhism in various countries. The program also describes the day-to-day lives of Buddhist priests as they counsel, teach, beg for alms, and meditate. The Buddhist emphasis upon compassion based meditation offers an example and challenge to all."Mystic Fire Video
Spiritual, alternative and art videos. Has a large selection of films on Buddhism. Titles include: Arising From Flames
Buddha on the Silk Road (Secret Heart of Asia)
Door of Compassion
Entering the Millennium Falling or Flying (2 tape set)
Essential Alan Watts (3 tape box set)
Ethics for the New Millennium
God and Buddha: A Dialogue
Heart of Tibet
Human Rights and Moral Practice: The Dalai Lama at Berkeley
Illuminated Tibet
In the Spirit of Manjushri (4 tape box set)
Inside Tibet (Secret Heart of Asia)
Kalachakra: The Wheel of Time
Lojong: Transforming the Mind (4 tape box set)
Man in Nature, Work as Play (Essential Alan Watts)
Peace 2 Pak
Peace is Every Step
Robert A.F. Thurman on Buddhism (3 tape box set)
Robert AF Thurman on Buddhism is reviewed and discussed with suggestions for classroom activities: Joan Barnatt. Education About Asia 5.2 (Fall 2000) : 74.
"The lectures are . . . an extended discussion of the three tenets [the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha] . . . [Thurman's depth of knowledge is matched by an ability to interpret precepts, clearly, offering a lecture style that is informal and nonthreatening . . . The series is appropriate for excerpted use at the high school level, for professional development of educators, and for postsecondary classes . . ."
Robert A. F. Thurman on Tibet (3 tape box set)
Secret Heart of Asia
Tantra of Gyuto: Sacred Rituals Of Tibet
Tantra: Indian Rites of Ecsatsy
The 17th Karmapa’s Return to Tsurphu
The Four Noble Truths (4 tape box set)
The Reincarnation of Khensur Rinpoche
Tibetan Medicine: A Buddhist Approach to Healing
Time and the More It Changes (Essential Alan Watts)
Touching Peace
Zen and the Art of the Controlled Accident
Zen Talks: Shunryu Suzuki (2 tape box set) 
National Film Preservation Board
Links to film archives and research centers around the world.

National Film Board of Canada
Has a collection of films about Buddhism with abstracts of each on-line. 
Order information: Within Canada 800-267-7710. Or visit Web site at http://www.nfb.ca/. In the United States: 212-629-8890. Outside North America contact NFB office nearest you: http://www.nfb.ca/FMT/E/cain/038/03805.html
Films include:

Tibet Collection 
Spirit of Tibet: Journey to Enlightenment
On Health and Healing . . . A Spiritual Journey
The Tibetan Book of the Dead
The Tibetan Book of the Dead: A Way of Life
The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Liberation
A Song for Tibet
Great Religions
Satori in the Right Cortex
Four Religions