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Zen Buddhism: In Search of Self
Zen Buddhism In Search of Self
Actor: Zen Buddhism-in Search of Self
Director: Gong Jae-Sung
Genres: Indie & Art House, Special Interests, Documentary
NR     2007     1hr 5min

Following a tradition dating back over 1000 years, two dozen Buddhist nuns gather for a ninety day period of meditation, fasting and contemplation deep in the mountains of South Korea. With the singular goal of attaining e...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Zen Buddhism-in Search of Self
Director: Gong Jae-Sung
Genres: Indie & Art House, Special Interests, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Religion & Spirituality, Documentary
Studio: Turtle Press
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 03/06/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 5min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: Korean

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Movie Reviews

An hour of peace
J. Anderson | Monterey, CA USA | 06/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A beautiful hour-long video documentary of a 90 day retreat for Zen (Cham Sun) Buddhist nuns at 10th century Baek Hung Temple in South Korea. Throughout long meditation periods, the Zen master's discreet encouragements, manual labor, cooking, eating, and more long meditation periods, the camera NEVER intrudes, creating in the viewer a natural sense of being present at retreat. The silence of the film is positively life-giving. The pungent natural winter landscapes outside the monastery remind me of Korean film master Ki-Duk Kim's work. Heartily recommended for practictioners, and surely many people can reap rewards from an effort as honest as this. In Search of Self possesses a spiritual essence not to cajole or intervene, but to leave free and gratified anyone who seeks a film like this for sustenance."
Educational, inspiring
Loren w Christensen | Portland, Oregon | 05/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a wonderful DVD for Zen practitioners and anyone wondering what a retreat is like at its most disciplined. Filmed at a centuries-old temple in the chill-to-the-marrow winter months in the mountains of Korea, viewers get to see 24 Buddhist monks practice this discipline for 90 days. That's 90 days in a row!

Watching what these people went through makes the pain you experience in your legs after 25 minutes suddenly seem quite insignificant.

Highly recommended.

Not pretending to be an art movie
Constantin O. M. | Vancouver, WA | 06/21/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"...and it is not. Clean shots of what is going on in a Zen monastery. It tends to be repetitive which I guess is alright as a parallel to the monastic life of these nuns.
It feels like a home made movie shot without much detail.
Indoor shots are at very bright artificial light. Feels like the people shooting it were in a hurry to get it done and get out of there.
But then, this is just my opinion...
Just sitting
ShriDurga | 05/03/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is one of the better films about Zen and for a very simple reason. It doesn't preach and therefore doesn't get bogged down in philosophy and metaphysics. It teaches only by pointing the camera at its subject, the 90-day winter retreat of the nuns of Korea's Baek Hung temple. If you ever wanted to know what a mediation retreat is like, this film will give you a nice taste.

What you see is that the nuns spend a lot of time inside sitting quietly. This is followed by periods of walking in circles in the courtyard. Once in a while they go out for a hike in the surrounding mountains, or collect wood from the forest. They cook meals. On New Year's they do a lot of cleaning and praying and visiting of nearby temples. And that's about it.

Of course if you know nothing or very little about Buddhism or Zen then you might be a bit confused about just what's going on. The Korean film makers, who produced this for Korean television, could assume their audience had the background to understand what they were being shown. And so they simply pointed the camera. There are one or two brief interviews with the head nuns, and a couple of scenes of the nuns chatting together, but for most of the film's 65 minutes all you hear are bells and wind and rain.

The film ends with the nuns leaving the temple:

Where did I come from?
Where am I going to?

Came with the cloud,
Going with the wind.

Then, what is this
that is coming and going?