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.
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
Buddhism for Key by Clear
An educational series
to introduce children to the basics tenets and practices of Buddhism
Order information: Web
The Four Noble Truths. Produced by David
Cherniack Productions in association with the Network of Buddhist
Organizations (U.K.) and the Office of Tibet
"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
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/.
Strive On with Diligence:
The Buddha and His Teaching (80 min.). By Ken and Visakha
- Reviewed by
Marianne Dresser in Turning Wheel: Journal of the Buddhist
Peace Fellowship (Winter 2000): 37.
Order Information: Buddhist
Relief Mission 2128 Missouri Avenue Flint, MI 48506-3797 U.S.A. Web
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.
Three films by Ellen Bruno:
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/
Samsara: A Film about Survival and Recovery in
Cambodia (1989, 29 min.).
Prayer for the Enemy (1993, 28 min.)
Sacrifice: The Story of Child Prostitutes from
Burma (1998, 50 min.
- The films are
reviewed by Marianne Dresser in Turning Wheel: Journal of the
Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Winter 2000, p. 37.
Footprint of the Buddha: By Peter Montagnon;
From the BBC The Long Search Series. 52 minutes
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
28 West 44th Street, Suite
York, NY 10036.
Phone: 800-526-4663 or
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
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
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
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
comprehensive look at popular Buddhist traditions of Sri Lanka
using a village near Kandy as the locale (quoted from the
Center’s Web site).
East Asian Buddhism
MA: SPACE/TIME IN THE GARDEN OF RYOANJI -
Produced by Taka Limura
of the Disappearing Budhha - Japan
See Website http://www.artfilm.org/Art/pic-ryoa.htm
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)
28 West 44th Street, Suite
York, NY 10036.
Phone: 800-526-4663 or
Japanese History and Literature. Produced by
Columbia University’s Project on Asia in the Core Curriculum of
Schools and Colleges.
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:
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
Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East? Written and directed by Bae-Yong
Kyun. Korea. 1989. In Korean with English subtitles. 135 Minutes.
"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:email@example.com.
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
Collection of Tibet related
films which can be downloaded or purchased.
Films and Videos on
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.)
Address: New Day Films, 22D Hollywood Ave., Hohokus, NJ 07423
Wisconsin-Madison Center for South Asia
- Reviewed by Phebe
Chao in Education About Asia Vol. 2 no. 2, Fall, 1997, p.
Buddhism: Preserving the Monastic Tradition
Tibetan Buddhism: Cycles of
Buddhism: The Wheel of Life
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
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
Buddhism in the West
Jews and Buddhism: Belief Amended, Faith
Revealed. Chayes Productions. 40 minutes.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Links to film companies and archives with large
collections of films on Buddhism
Asian Educational Media
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
Large collection of films for
educators, including many on Buddhism.
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
Alexandra David-Neel: One Woman’s Journey. 52
"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.
Making of a Monk 15 minutes. Color.
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
for a Chinese Woman: Enlightenment in a Buddhist Convent. 36
"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
Lama: A Portrait in the First Person. 24 minutes,
"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
the Buddhist Path: Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche. 85 minutes,
"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
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
- Reviewed by Joseph
Laker in Education in Asia Vol. 4 no. 2, Fall 1999, pp.
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,
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
Peace: Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Shintoism. 54 minutes,
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
- Reviewed by Joe
Gawrys in Education About Asia Vol. 3 no. 1, Spring
Spiritual, alternative and art
videos. Has a large selection of films on Buddhism. Titles
Arising From Flames
the Silk Road (Secret Heart of Asia)
the Millennium Falling or Flying (2 tape set)
Essential Alan Watts (3 tape box
the New Millennium
Buddha: A Dialogue
and Moral Practice: The Dalai Lama at Berkeley
Spirit of Manjushri (4 tape box set)
(Secret Heart of Asia)
The Wheel of Time
Transforming the Mind (4 tape box set)
Man in Nature, Work as Play (Essential Alan
A.F. Thurman on Buddhism (3 tape box set)
Thurman on Buddhism is reviewed and discussed with suggestions
for classroom activities: Joan Barnatt. Education About
Asia 5.2 (Fall 2000) : 74. Robert A.
F. Thurman on Tibet (3 tape box set)
"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 . . ."
Gyuto: Sacred Rituals Of Tibet
Indian Rites of Ecsatsy
17th Karmapa’s Return to Tsurphu
The Four Noble Truths (4 tape box
Reincarnation of Khensur Rinpoche
Medicine: A Buddhist Approach to Healing
Time and the More It Changes (Essential Alan
Zen and the
Art of the Controlled Accident
Talks: Shunryu Suzuki (2 tape box
set) National Film
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
Spirit of Tibet: Journey to
and Healing . . . A Spiritual Journey
The Tibetan Book of the Dead
The Tibetan Book of the Dead: A Way of
Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Liberation
A Song for Tibet
the Right Cortex