Zen – The Movie

Zen tells the story, the film version anyway, of Dogen Zenji. I watched it several times while in the US last summer. It is worth a watch. I understand it’s been hard to find copies so I’m glad to point you to a site where Zen, the movie, can be bought.

Zen is an elegant and fascinating look into the life and times of 13th-century monk Dogen, founder of the Soto sect in Zen Buddhism. Offering a fairly faithful depiction of what is known of the monk’s life, the film follows Dogen, handsomely portrayed by kabuki actor Nakamura Kantaro, from an orphan child inspired by his mother’s dying words to a young monk wandering in China where he experiences his awakening. After reaching enlightenment, he returns to Kyoto to spread his teachings of silent meditation, attracting both dedicated followers and fierce detractors who cast him as a heretic. In his travels and teachings, Dogen encounters many different people. Some guide him, some follow him, and some test him, but all become crucial figures in his spiritual journey of peace and meditation.

Thanks go to Rod in Canada for the link.

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8 thoughts on “Zen – The Movie”

  1. Thank you so much for this link. I spent a very happy week in Kyoto last October and somehow absorbed something intangible of our tradition. I look forward very much to seeing the film and perhaps to sharing it with others. Popcorn anyone?

  2. I don’t know if mailing is prohibitive outside the U.S., but I heard about the movie during a stay at Shasta Abbey, went home and ordered it at Amazon.com.

  3. We watched the 1st part of this last night – v. good. However, it stopped part way through and then finished half way through the movie. disappointed but seeing it as a lesson in non-attachment we let it go and tried to find a DVD copy – no luck there. Anyway, today, undeterred I see on the iidrama site – PART 2 of 2 at the top of the page! Fantastic, we can watch the end tonight!

  4. I just received an email with the following information about the movie Zen:

    ‘It is from a novel and so is intended to give a flavour of Dogen rather
    than being historical. It takes considerable artistic license and invents
    characters and events.’

    The book has not been translated from Japanese into English – yet.

  5. Yes Chris, yes PLEASE! Popcorn all round. Glad you got to Kyoto. I know what you mean about absorbing something intangible….I got that too when I was there. Enjoy the movie with friends.

  6. And now I have a DVD player all set up due to a kind person sending me a SCART cable I will be able to watch the film which I think somebody will be bringing over in March.

    Is it a SCART cable? All I need is to find the remote control for the player…..all in good time.

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