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Thread: a WONDERFUL DOCUMENTARY about NISHIJIMA ROSHI !

  1. #1

    a WONDERFUL DOCUMENTARY about NISHIJIMA ROSHI !

    Hi.

    Bro. Brad has uploaded a wonderful documentary about our Teacher, Gudo Wafu Nishijima Roshi. It was made several years ago (Brad says in the 1990's, but it was actually in 2002-03. As many of you know, Nishijima Roshi, now 92, is in poor health and has withdrawn from public life. The video was from a time when he was still very active and teaching in Japan). Brad and I have each tried to contact the filmmaker, a young fellow from Portugal who since has vanished from the earth and film world! So, we are taking the liberty of posting this (with the proviso that Brad describes).

    Hey, I have a cameo or two in the movie. I am the bearded fellow (considerably more hair and less grey) seen about 7:20 of 'Part II' carrying a blackboard saying "REALITY/REALISM" with my other Dharma Brother Peter Rocca. That was during a retreat at our root temple in Japan, the Tokei-in (more on the Tokei-in here ... lovely photos) ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/about-tokei-in/tokei-in-1.html

    Brad's comments are below, and visit his blog for the full story. I encourage all Treeleafers to watch it.

    Gassho, J

    So I'm digging through my DVDs the other day and I discover a copy of a movie called Buddhist Life. The director was a guy named Luis Carapeto. He was Portuguese. I remember him coming to a number of Nishijima Roshi's talks and retreats. Then he went back to Portugal. Later on he returned to Japan with a couple of people and a bunch of video equipment to make a movie about Nishijima.

    He gave Nishijima a copy on VHS, which I then copied for myself and later transferred to a DVD-R. Then, as far as I knew, the movie just vanished. IMDB doesn't list it. I checked around the interwebs and the only reference I can find is this listing from a film festival in Amsterdam. It gives the year of production as 2003. I think the movie may be a couple years older than that. But my memory is not so reliable. Amazon has a listing for it. Though the DVD appears to be out of print. So buy the download because maybe Luis is getting some money from those sales. And I'm sure it'll look and sound a lot better than this third generation copy.

    The synopsis on that Dutch film festival's website says:

    "I live my Buddhist life from day to day, from moment to moment sometimes in my office, sometimes in my home, sometimes in a temple. In every situation there was just my Buddhist life." Gudo Wafu Nishijima was born in Yokohama, Japan. With a new and fresh approach to the Buddhist view of reality and the sense of balance to the philosophical and scientific investigations from last decades, Master Nishijima gives us the coordinates to start to understand Buddhism with our own method of thinking. He wants to pass the teachings of Buddhism to people all over the world who are searching for "Truth". "We have to say that we live in a succession of moments rather like the frames of a film." In these frames, from the present moment, the documentary is about Master Nishijima´s daily life that is all ready a Buddhist life.

    I uploaded the whole thing onto YouTube this morning. Luis, if you're out there and you want me to remove it I will. I'm under the impression that Luis and the others who made the movie have kind of forgotten about it at this point. I'm hoping maybe this blog posting might spark some renewed interest in it. I say again unto thee, buy the download! It's only two dollars, ya cheapskates!

    Watching it again I'd forgotten how good it was. It gives you a very honest look at who Nishijima Roshi was when the film was made. It shows him leading one of his annual retreats in Shizuoka for foreigners. It shows him in Europe giving talks and running a sesshin. It shows him talking to students of his from Israel and Ireland. There's also a wonderful scene of him dragging his suitcase through Tokyo Station. He always insisted on carrying his own stuff when he went on retreats. If you wanted to help him out with his bags you'd have to kind of trick him by grabbing them before he noticed. But he was always very quick.

    ...

    The opening scenes were shot one morning at Nishijima's dojo in Chiba prefecture. ...
    http://www.hardcorezen.blogspot.com/201 ... -life.html
    PART I
    [youtube] [/youtube]

    PART II
    [youtube] [/youtube]

    PART III
    [youtube] [/youtube]

  2. #2

    Re: WONDERFUL DOCUMENTARY about NISHIJIMA ROSHI !

    Thank you for sharing Jundo!

  3. #3

    Re: a WONDERFUL DOCUMENTARY about NISHIJIMA ROSHI !

    Thank you for posting this documentary.

    Just a few minutes of listening to Nishijima Roshi has brought clarity to my mind.

    To hear him state 'Zazen is natural' - not 'supernatural'

    The 'universe is reality'

    'we can never leave the present'

    'God is the universe
    the universe is God'

    'God did not create the universe'

    and 'oneness' is our natural state

    washed away the mud that had collected on the mirror.

    It also led me to a very informative post 'on questions on Zazen and TM' from 2007 on Treeleaf

    So - for today at least - I feel back on secure ground.


    Gassho

    Willow

  4. #4
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: a WONDERFUL DOCUMENTARY about NISHIJIMA ROSHI !

    Thank you Jundo, this brought back many memories of life in Japan and listening to Japanese Buddhist priests' Dharma Talks. How exotic a lot of the content would have been for viewers at a Dutch Film Festival. It was Nishijima's work that led me to Treeleaf; mustn't get too maudlin over the changes seen in the past twenty or so years. :roll: The answer to the question, "What's new?" is ALWAYS, "Everything!!" :lol:

  5. #5

    Re: a WONDERFUL DOCUMENTARY about NISHIJIMA ROSHI !

    Wow.

    ...and he looks like a really sweet man.

    Thank you, Jundo.



    Gassho , Kojip.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: a WONDERFUL DOCUMENTARY about NISHIJIMA ROSHI !

    Awesome! Looking forward to watching sometime this weekend! Where can we find the place to pay the $2 and just download it?

    Gassho,
    Hoyu(John)

  7. #7

    Re: a WONDERFUL DOCUMENTARY about NISHIJIMA ROSHI !

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoyu
    Awesome! Looking forward to watching sometime this weekend! Where can we find the place to pay the $2 and just download it?

    Gassho,
    Hoyu(John)
    It's available on Amazon.

  8. #8

    Re: a WONDERFUL DOCUMENTARY about NISHIJIMA ROSHI !

    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip
    ...and he looks like a really sweet man.
    Yes, he seems to be a very sweet, compassionate, childish, balanced, original, happy, natural, persistent, youthful old man!
    I enjoyed watching this!

    Thanks Bradley and Jundo,
    A deep gassho to both of you and to Nishijima Roshi,
    Pontus

  9. #9

    Re: a WONDERFUL DOCUMENTARY about NISHIJIMA ROSHI !

    Ah, great! Can't wait to dig into it.

    Thanks, Jundo & Brad!

  10. #10

    Re: a WONDERFUL DOCUMENTARY about NISHIJIMA ROSHI !

    Very cool!
    Nice cameo Jundo

    Gassho
    Shohei

  11. #11
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: a WONDERFUL DOCUMENTARY about NISHIJIMA ROSHI !

    Quote Originally Posted by SonofRage
    Quote Originally Posted by Hoyu
    Awesome! Looking forward to watching sometime this weekend! Where can we find the place to pay the $2 and just download it?

    Gassho,
    Hoyu(John)
    It's available on Amazon.
    Thanks for the tip! _/_

  12. #12

    Re: a WONDERFUL DOCUMENTARY about NISHIJIMA ROSHI !

    A very nice find!

    I have a question. At one point, someone asks Nishijima Roshi about whether he thinks the Japanese style of Soto is the 'best' way. Not his exact words but something like that. Roshi answers something like "no... I have been trying to find a better way to accomodate western audiences."

    I can't seem to find the exact place in the video again. But if you know what part I'm talking about, Jundo, can you say anything about this or elaborate on what he meant?

  13. #13

    Re: a WONDERFUL DOCUMENTARY about NISHIJIMA ROSHI !

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin
    A very nice find!

    I have a question. At one point, someone asks Nishijima Roshi about whether he thinks the Japanese style of Soto is the 'best' way. Not his exact words but something like that. Roshi answers something like "no... I have been trying to find a better way to accomodate western audiences."

    I can't seem to find the exact place in the video again. But if you know what part I'm talking about, Jundo, can you say anything about this or elaborate on what he meant?
    Hi,

    Well, I don't know the exact place in the video ... but it is something Nishijima Roshi said all the time ... and that we say all the time around here too! Roshi was always trying to find ways to make old traditions relevant and understandable to Westerners. In fact, he was of the opinion that we should not just copy so many of the Chinese or Japanese ways and "make our own Western ways" of doing Zen Buddhist rituals.

    As we often discuss around Treeleaf, that is part of what this place is about ... trying to keep the best of the old ways, abandon some which is not relevant or fitting the times and cultures, adapting some other things ... all to maintain the Heart of the Matter. Of course. Almost every Zen and other Buddhist teacher I know in the West is engaged in the same process, although we often come up with different answers as to what to keep/leave/change. No different really when Buddhism came from India to China, the China to Japan etc.

    Gassho, Jundo

  14. #14
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Re: a WONDERFUL DOCUMENTARY about NISHIJIMA ROSHI !

    Thank you! I am really lookign forward to watch this documentary.

  15. #15

    Re: a WONDERFUL DOCUMENTARY about NISHIJIMA ROSHI !

    Thank you Jundo for the fantastic find ... I really enjoyed these clips.

    Gassho,
    Michael

  16. #16

    Re: a WONDERFUL DOCUMENTARY about NISHIJIMA ROSHI !

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin
    A very nice find!

    I have a question. At one point, someone asks Nishijima Roshi about whether he thinks the Japanese style of Soto is the 'best' way. Not his exact words but something like that. Roshi answers something like "no... I have been trying to find a better way to accomodate western audiences."

    I can't seem to find the exact place in the video again. But if you know what part I'm talking about, Jundo, can you say anything about this or elaborate on what he meant?
    Because I was just watching it, I can tell you that the reference is at the end of the second part beginning at 14:36. Gassho, Grace.

  17. #17

    Re: a WONDERFUL DOCUMENTARY about NISHIJIMA ROSHI !

    God is the universe. The universe is God. When people think He exists outside of the universe, then they blame Him.

    Gassho, Grace.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Daijo's Avatar
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    Re: a WONDERFUL DOCUMENTARY about NISHIJIMA ROSHI !

    This is a beautiful film so far.

  19. #19

    Re: a WONDERFUL DOCUMENTARY about NISHIJIMA ROSHI !

    Just watching this makes me want to be more dedicated to my practice.

    Thanks for giving us this window into Reality.

    gassho

    Greg

  20. #20

    Re: a WONDERFUL DOCUMENTARY about NISHIJIMA ROSHI !

    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    Just watching this makes me want to be more dedicated to my practice.

    Thanks for giving us this window into Reality.

    gassho

    Greg
    I agree Greg,

    Thank you Jundo and Brad,

    Gary

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