The Zen Mind

This is a beautifully photographed and edited introduction to the many faces of Zen in contemporary Japan. Made in 2005 by Jon Braeley who directed and edited the film, and having haunting Shakuhachi flute music by Yohmei Blasdel, the documentary gives an overview of Zen practice and theory.

Filmed mainly in Tokyo, Kyoto and Yokohama the film visits some of the most famous Zen practice centres in the country, whether it be the Dogen Sangha in Tokyo, the Kyoto International Zendo or Soji-ji in Yokohama.

There is also a short introduction to such things as good posture, koan contemplation, walking meditation and evening meditation in the natural surroundings of the temples; and we see how Zen has affected Japanese culture in everything from house design to the martial arts.

Among the contributors are the remarkably young-looking (83-year old) Gudo Nishijima (above), Profs. Ishii, Shuko and Seishi, Hozumi Gensho Roshi, Priest Joshu Toga and Dai Tow Noda, and covers both Rinzai and Soto practices.

Some of the most beautiful scenes are from the various temples around Kyoto: Nanzen-ji, Ryoan-ji, Ginkaku-ji and Tenryu-ji, and it includes a look at the workings of Soji-ji.

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