“Dharma Rising” screening, Toronto, 12.8.11

Buddhism around the World Events Film Teacher Stories Teachers Toronto

There’ll be a screening of Dharma Rising, David Cherniack’s recently completed two part film about Buddhism in the West on Dec 8 at Innis Town Hall at 7 pm.

For details and a description of the films: http://dharmarising.eventbrite.com/
Is Western Buddhism becoming Dharma Light? Can the fundamental teachings of Buddhism withstand the influences of modernity? What can our Western Buddhist Teachers offer us?

A two part documentary that takes a fascinating look, through the eyes first generation Western Buddhist Teachers, at the challenges facing Buddhism as it encounters contemporary culture in America and Europe.

Thursday December 8, 2011 7:00 pm  (Q & A with director – Dave Cherniack – to follow screening)
Innis Town Hall Theatre 2 Sussex Ave on the University of Toronto campus (Tickets will not be available at the door)

Buddhism is now widely accepted as the fastest growing ‘convert’ religion among educated Westerners. There are reasons for its appeal: its comparative freedom from reliance on faith in dogmas that are hard to accept for pragmatic, scientifically inclined, Westerners; its inclusive attitude to the natural world; its ecological approach; its compassionate, forgiving, and non-violent nature. Dharma Rising introduces us to a generation of Western Dharma teachers who are leading the way in the integration of Buddhism in the West, and share with us how that adaption is taking shape within a culture that runs on the engines of competition and greed, where many consider cruelty to be kindness and ignorance to be knowledge.

Part One examines the new roles Dharma teachers and institutions are adopting as they face the challenges of modernity: democratization, transitioning from monasteries to centres, from top-down to different forms of organization, and new forms of teachers and teachings.

Part Two takes a looks at how the fundamental tenets of Buddhism are being re-interpreted between the opposing poles of tradition and reform. The nature of Buddhist Enlightenment and the reality of Rebirth are being questioned. On the horns  of this dilemma the question arises: Is Western Buddhism becoming Dharma Light? Or is it entering modern culture through social engagement, mindfulness practice, and a new non-sectarian scientific, and ethical, paradigm?

Featured in the films: Jack Kornfield, Stephen & Ondrea Levine, Robert Thurman, Jiun Hogen Roshi, B. Alan Wallace, Zenkei Blanche Hartman, Mel Sojun Weitzman, Zoketsu Norman Fischer, Ajahn Sucitto,Sylvia Wetzel, Judith Simmer-Brown, Lama Tsultrim Allione, Reginald A. Ray, Lama Shenpen Hookham, Jan Willis, Stephen Batchelor,  Bernie Glassman, Mathieu Ricard, John Crook, Sangkarakshita.

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