One Precept: Zen Buddhism in America
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by Steve Flood and Robin Adams
black and white, 30 min, 1995
Shot primarily at the Rinzai-Ji temple in Los Angeles, One Precept documents traditional Zen Buddhism in America today. In a personal, often poetic portrayal, the story introduces a Zen priest named Seiju, who discusses the principles of the practice, the growing popularity of Zen and his seventeen years as a disciple of one of its oldest living masters, Kyozan Joshu Sasaki. Detailed images of meditation, chanting, formal meal, and Koan study are combined to reveal a highly disciplined practice that has been handed down from master to student, from one culture to another, emerging as a popular form of religious expression in contemporary western society.
While this new release is of primary importance in Asian/American studies and the study of religion it is also an example of a creative, aesthetic approach to the art and craft of filming. The style of filming is beautifully welded to the subject matter providing an interesting topic for discussion by film students. It was originally shot in 16mm black and white film and is also available in video format.