2500 years ago the Buddha walked the length and breadth of India sharing the Dharma
and the way of compassion and freedom.
In 2011 the monks and nuns of Plum Village will take the road with the same goal in mind,
but this time using planes, trains and automobiles, social networking and mobile phones.
From the natural beauty of sunny Southern California to the swamps of Mississippi, the Midwest
and across the Rocky Mountains to 5th Avenue in Manhattan, this will be a road movie like no other!
On the Road With Plum Village (working title)
[A film for 2012 – the 30th anniversary of Plum Village]
This unique feature-length documentary will share the real life of the monastics in the Plum Village Tradition: their life as young people with aspirations, hopes and dreams, their trials and challenges along with their joys and happiness in the practice and their daily coming and goings whilst touring with their teacher. It will depict the true life of a monk or a nun, sharing their moments of peace and calm as well as their disappointments and tensions while traveling as a community of 50 or 60 monastic brother and sisters. In doing so, it will reveal a unique form of monastic training that has developed and evolved from an ancient tradition of sharing the Dharma, using many modern means. The film will also reveal the human side of these monks and nuns--real people who can and do practice with every aspect of their human existence and not just as solemn recluses.
Through a portrait of the community that is humorous, warm and intimate, the film will inspire young people and the public in general, to live true to themselves and to bring meaning and happiness right into their daily life even when there is suffering still left in their hearts. We will see that it is possible to help and serve our society to become more compassionate and happy even while we are still young in age and young in the practice. The film will focus on several key characters: young monastics who have chosen another way to live and serve in this world that is most deep and meaningful. With privileged behind the scenes access we will see how their personal story, their transformation and reconciliation, their gentle smile and footsteps have brought them and others peace and happiness.
We begin the journey in Plum Village in South-West France. A group of young monks and nuns are in the office making phone calls, discussing contracts and time schedules, finalizing the plan for the three month US Tour. We meet Thay, or Thich Nhat Hanh, the 84 year old Vietnamese, now “trans-national” Zen Master; leader of the international Plum Village Community. Through an interview and archive photographs, we learn of his Vietnamese beginnings, his inspiration and challenges as a young monk during the times of war, his engagement with the efforts to bring peace to his homeland and to renew Buddhism, and discover his practice and thoughts about “engaged” and “applied” Buddhism.
Traveling to the US with Thay and the monastic delegation, we will experience the tour side by side with these monks and nuns and witness the reactions of ordinary people at the airport, gas stations and retreat centers to the extraordinary presence of these young monastics and of Thay. We will follow how they train, serve and share the Dharma during retreats, public events, as well as outside of these planned venues; and during breaks and “lazy” rest periods, how they relax and play among themselves and in nature. In Colorado and California, we will hike with them to the mountains to enjoy tea in the early morning sunlight. In Washington, we will attend a special event designed specifically for the members of Congress and their staff members.
Along the road we will also learn about the backgrounds of our characters and the origins of their motivations to become monastics and how they practice living and traveling with such a diverse group of people.
And of course, by following Thay and the monastics of Plum Village from large-scale public talks and retreats to personal encounters, we will gain a rare insight into the deep teachings of a true modern Zen Master.
The film will be shot for cinema and festival release using the latest HD cameras and directed by Max Pugh, a young filmmaker with a huge track record of award-nominated films which have played at international festivals and on TV around the world including the BBC, Channel Four and PBS. The making of the film and its content will be guided by a group of Plum Village monastics.
We want YOU to become involved!
We are offering you a unique opportunity to become part of this extraordinary film. Check out the perks at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/23859 to see all the wonderful things we are offering in exchange for your support.
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Arriving in Hong Kong, what is the first thing you do as a Zen monk or nun?