Buddhist Movie Night at PIMC: "Amongst White Clouds" (Sat., 11/17/18, 6:30pm)

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This is Portland Insight Meditation Community’s (PIMC’s) monthly Buddhist/mindfulness-themed movie night – a chance to see movies that expand our understanding of the Buddha and the Dharma and talk about these ideas with other interested folks.

"Amongst White Clouds" is a 2005 documentary that gives a rare opportunity to catch a glimpse into the reclusive lives of
China’s Zen Buddhist hermits.  The American director Edward A. Burger guides his audience through the forbidding ZhongnanMountain range as he meets and learns from the ascetic poets, students and masters living in isolated hermitages. Through living side by side with the practitioners and experiencing their solitary lives of these mountains, Burger reveals a lifestyle that casts away the troubles of the city in exchange for a serene life in search of liberation. The entire documentary revolves around a very central theme that is of  ‘letting go of the unnecessary and focusing on the present.’

Born in America, Burger decided to become a Buddhist in university after he visited a local Zen center. During that time he discovered a book of traditional Chinese poems by Buddhist monks, which encouraged him to travel to China in 1999 and learn the language and familiarize himself more with Buddhist teachings.  In this documentary, in addition to discovering the wisdoms of the hermit dwellers, Burger captures the hardships of living on the mountains. While learning more about Buddhism, he also followed a nun
collecting water from a distant well, assisted a master as he tended his garden, and discussed the challenges of building a house on the cliff of a mountain.  Although the monks who live there were not used to tourists, they were always friendly and willing to invite Burger and his team into their homes asking nothing in return.

According to the film’s website, the Zhongnan Mountains have been home to recluses since the time of the Yellow Emperor  (2600 BC) at the beginning of the Han dynasty. It was widely believed that these hermitage traditions had been lost over time, but Burger’s investigation proves the opposite to be true. This film provides a very special view into a very ancient tradition that continues to appeal to certain dedicated individuals. Thanks to Burger’s directorial journey, we as viewers are able to share in this discovery and ponder its meaning in today’s fast paced life.

Mikki and Chanel will be hosting the movie night and leading the discussion afterward. It will be a very mellow, low key affair. Please come, bring a snack to share if you like, and enjoy.

DATE/TIME: Saturday, 11-17-18 / 6:30-9:00PM

LOCATION: PIMC, 6536 SE Duke St., Portland

SUGGESTED DONATION: $5/person (no one turned away for insufficient funds).

Also be sure to join us for our other monthly Buddhist movie nights. Here's the schedule for the remainder of 2018:

Sat., Dec. 15: "I Heart Huckabees"