Journey into Buddhism [3-Disc]
(3-Disc DVD / PG / 2021 / PBS)
Overview: Yatra is the Sanskrit word for pilgrimage or spiritual journey. These three visually stunning documentaries are cinematic pilgrimages to legendary places in Southeast Asia and Tibet, including the spiritual wonders of Laos, Thailand, Burma, Bali, Cambodia, Java and Central Tibet.
DVD Verdict: Journey into the living traditions and lost civilizations of this vibrant part of the world and explore the universal ideals of wisdom, compassion and inner peace at the very heart of these ancient Buddhist cultures.
The living presence of place is the primary focus of these lyrical films which are meditations themselves. Their deliberate pacing, unobtrusive narration, indigenous music and harmonic chants are designed to induce an inner journey while traveling to these legendary places. Viewers are invited to relax and let the experience wash over them, making the trilogy part of their own journey.
Dharma River: Take a timeless journey through legendary rivers to the greatest Buddhist temples and mystical sites of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. This is the first documentary in John Bush’s Yatra trilogy, which World Movie Reviews called a spiritual film with a big heart that dazzles with amazing imagery and an illuminating meditation by Variety.
This film and the others of the trilogy are offered by the filmmaker as his own journey without the artifice and barrier of a large production crew on-set.
The fact that John Bush shot it himself and offers his voice as narrator gives a remarkable intimacy and you are there quality for those of us who go along with him to these many unforgettable destinations.
The whole technique is transporting and immersive. To truly capture a profound sense of the sacred in this medium is rare and sublime.
Personally, this episode took me deep into the mystery and delight of SE Asian spirituality. Not only for Buddhists, this film will satisfy lovers of Asian art and culture, as well as those who want to learn about Thailand, Laos and Burma before going or coming back. It is also a joy for the armchair mystic.
Prajna Earth: Explore the lost civilization of Angkor in Cambodia, the magnificent Angkor Wat temple and Bali’s sacred landscapes. Narrated by Sharon Stone, the trilogy’s second film also shares trance dancers in the jungles of Java and the gigantic seven level mandala mountain of Borobudur and is described as inducing an inner journey by Asia Society, New York.
With narration by Sharon Stone, writer and director Bush takes us on a journey to Cambodia, Bali, and Java where Buddhism embraced Hinduism resulting in a deep and pervasive love and respect for nature.
You will be enchanted by the beauty of the art, the architecture, and the rituals and ceremonies performed by ordinary people. In Bali, there is no word for art yet everyone has a part to play in festivals, dance performances, and dramas.
Indeed, creativity abounds everywhere and as a result both the inward and the external beauty of the people are revealed.
Vajra Sky Over Tibet: This stunning pilgrimage, beautifully shot in Tibet’s most sacred sites as described by Variety, received the blessing of the Dalai Lama and bears witness to the indomitable faith of the Tibetan Buddhist community and the imminent threat to its very survival. Travel through breathtaking Himalayan terrain, in this third film of John Bush’s Yatra Trilogy.
Shot entirely in this endangered land, the filmmaker Bush takes us into seldom seen places to reveal the beauty and spirituality that still remains there.
Without permission of the Chinese authorities he captures an in depth portrait of a valiant people struggling to maintain their sacred traditions and practice their faith in spite of huge interferences from their atheist overlords. It brought tears to my eyes several times.
Traveling through all the many wonders of Tibet we see the most extraordinary art and spiritual treasures that are so unique to this culture.
The noble faces of Tibetan pilgrims illuminated by yak-butter lamps are unforgettable. The soundtrack is ethereal and transporting which means that this 3-Disc PBS Box-Set is HIGHY recommended! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.
Official PBS Purchase Link