Zen is Now: The Kwan Um School of Zen Today
Zen Is Now reveals the global connectedness of a community bound by having a single question: "What am I?" From both the lay person and monastic lens, these zen practitioners tell personal stories of suffering, the curiosity it took for them to look inside, and how wanting enlightenment is stupid.
Inclusion StatementInternational + Global connectedness: Despite people's native language, background, religious beliefs, sex, or orientation, we are one in the same.
About The Project
"Zen is very simple... What are you? In this whole world everyone searches for happiness outside, but nobody understands their true self inside."
- Zen Master Seung Sahn
David is NOW making a documentary.
I remember the first time I sat meditation. It was the worst 30 minutes of my life.
But something kept me coming back.
It made me want to move into the Zen Center.
It made me want to sit a 90-day silent retreat in a mountain temple in South Korea.
It made me want to film a documentary.
NOW I'm finding after interviewing over 40 people that everybody has a story. Everybody has expressed experiencing a mixture of chance and decision, of suffering and insight that ultimately led them to practicing meditation.
This project is happening right NOW.
In the modern era of technology, political tension, and dwindling humanness, this documentary delves into how people find Zen practice in the first place and what keeps them motivated to continue practicing. It explores how people from all backgrounds resonate with this ancient tradition and why Zen Master Seung Sahn's teaching stands out. With a practice that is embedded in monastic roots and a long history of strict rituals, the film reveals the modern day Zen practitioner that embodies a diverse demographic, including both Monastics and lay people, and all the excitement and struggles involved.
NOW is of utmost importance!
When people met Zen Master Seung Sahn, they were surprised by what they learned – not only about his embodiment of the practice, but about his intent on bringing world peace. There's the generation that met Zen Master Seung Sahn and became his students. Many of them are older and have become teachers themselves, and they will be passing along the teaching that was handed down directly from him. This raises the importance of finishing this project NOW as a means to preserve the 1st generation of teaching from Zen Master Seung Sahn's students.
NOW with your contribution you can help the mission!
There are Zen Centers located internationally. Despite people's native language, background, religious beliefs, sex, or orientation, the practice is the same. We go and we film!
1. In Barcelona, the community is helping extend the structure of a 14th century building to allow for more people to join on retreats.
2. In Brussels they have started a permaculture program for conscious gardening and sustainability.
3. In Vienna, certain community members are teaching courses in universities, exploring our effects on the environment through interactive games, social simulations and seminars.
4. In Malaysia, a newly acquired Zen Center in Penang is gearing towards renovations for the ability to house residents and hold retreats.
5. In South Korea, a project is underway to bring an international online community to those that do not have access to a Zen Center.
With your support, we can get to these locations, document these projects and capture the international connectedness of Kwan Um. With your contribution, the film can be edited and completed and shared throughout the global community.
The film is driven by the intent to benefit those interested in learning more, and those that are already steeped in the practice. With the mixture of intimate interviews alongside how the practice plays out in people's lives, we see that people are using Zen to explore and connect, which can ultimately help themselves, help this world and help all beings.
NOW we have garnered international support of community members from all around the world. All contributions go towards the finishing of the film and the intention to help all beings.
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About This Team
My vision as a filmmaker is that of portraying a socially responsible message, thus inspiring the viewer. A paradigm shift in the viewers’ consciousness may or may not be the ultimate result, however, a film will at the least, leave the audience deep in thought. Film can illuminate human morals, intentions, and motives. The filmgoers consequently may wonder who they are, where they have been, and where they are going.