The strange case of Doctor Strange’s Tibet

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Recently we told you about the coming release of Marvel's Doctor Strange film starring Benedict Cumberbatch -- who's had his own experiences with meditation, as well as living with Tibetan Buddhist monks. It seems he's got one up on his character there. As fans of the Doctor Strange comic book know, much of it takes place in a sort of highly mythical version of Tibet mashed up [...]

“The Fourth Noble Truth” is a Buddhist movie about love

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Can you think of an instance when the Buddha’s fundamental teachings formed the framework for a commercial film, right down to the title? That time has come, with The Fourth Noble Truth premiering today (trailer above). The Fourth Noble Truth was written and directed by Gary T. McDonald, inspired by his years sitting with the All One Dharma meditation group in Santa Monica, [...]

Was Yoda based on this Buddhist master?

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Star Wars is loved by many Buddhists for its hidden Buddhist teachings (more on that in our excerpt from Matthew Bortolin's The Dharma of Star Wars), especially today on Star Wars Day. (If you're unfamiliar, the unofficial holiday comes from the play on words, "May the 4th be with you"). But there may be an even more direct connection. According to Buddhist scholar Alexander [...]

“States of Grace” explores dependence and resilience

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"States of Grace" (trailer above) is a documentary by Mark Lipman and Helen S. Cohen, with Open Studio Productions. An eighth-generation doctor, Grace Dammann co-founded one of the first AIDS clinics for poor people in San Francisco and was the primary caregiver of her adopted daughter, who was born with cerebral palsy and HIV. But then Dammann was in a car accident that left [...]

Michael Imperioli talks Buddhism and The Sopranos

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In a new interview with comedian Marc Maron on Maron's famous WTF podcast, the multitalented Michael Imperioli gets personal -- about acting and directing, life after his stint on The Sopranos, playing music, cooking (he was the winner of the Chopped Tournament of Stars), meeting Lou Reed as well as Allen Ginsberg and other Beat figures, and his practice of Tibetan Buddhism. "I [...]

Updated: Was “The Dharma Bum” the first Western Buddhist monk?

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Update – Wednesday, March 18, 11:35am: For more information, filmmaker Ian Lawton has published a second video on the project. Watch that video, above. There's not much to say that isn't said in this video, which is surely one of the most compelling crowdfunding videos we've seen—and a great pitch for a movie we want to see. If you want to support the project, visit [...]

Help fund a film about pioneering Buddhist teacher Ruth Denison

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The makers of a new feature-length documentary about Ruth Denison, one of the first women to teach Buddhism in the West, are asking for help to bring their film to theaters. At 92, Ruth has taught Vipassana meditation for more than forty years. After growing up in the horrors of Nazi Germany and Soviet work camps, she came to the United States in 1957, where her circle [...]

Benedict Cumberbatch talks meditation and “Doctor Strange”

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As a comic-book nut with a bit of a spiritual bent, I was intrigued when, last year, Marvel announced plans to release a film featuring Doctor Strange, the comics company's famed "master of the mystic arts." But who would play the very-strange-indeed "Doctor"? A follow-up announcement told us it would be none other than Benedict Cumberbatch, star of Sherlock -- and, seemingly, [...]

Watch: “Hector” (aka Simon Pegg) goes to Tibet

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If a good-natured, fun-loving film is your cuppa tea, you know Simon Pegg; think Hot Fuzz, Paul, Shaun of the Dead, and so on. Pegg's latest star turn is in the title role of Hector and the Search for Happiness, in which he plays a psychiatrist who's trotting the globe in search of, yes, happiness. Over at IndieWire, they've got an exclusive, newly released trailer for the [...]

North American premiere of “Embrace”

As part of the Lens on Tibet film series, the new film Embrace (directed by Dan Smyer Yu and Pema Tashi) will have have its premier this Thursday, after a screening of Tantric Yogi. Following the narratives of a father and son, Embrace documents the complex interconnection of human communities, gods, buddhadharma, and natural landscape while shining light on the ngakpa [...]