Within Buddhism, Dharma is understood to be the Universal Law, a guiding power, the teachings of the Buddha and a force for awakening.
The making of DHARMA RIVER was a return to my earlier Buddhist roots. During my initial stay in India from 1970 to 1972, I spent my first few months in a Burmese monastery in Bodh Gaya,
the place of the Buddha’s enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree. I was trained in the practice of vipassana meditation under the guidance of a master from Burma, S.N. Goenka. We all sat 16 hours a day in silence and at times when my mind wandered, I imagined what Burma and Southeast Asia were like.
This first meditation training was in the Theravadin tradition, or school of the elders, the earliest expression of Buddhism still surviving today. Three decades later, as a filmmaker, I traveled to Burma, Thailand and Laos to reconnect with one of my early spiritual origins at its source.
DHARMA RIVER became for me a flowing revelation linking a personal past with an intimate present.
Each of these fabled lands portrayed here have a unique social context: Thailand merging a gritty urban futurism with rich cultural traditions; Laos just beginning to emerge from its war-induced reclusiveness, and classical Burma still laboring under the most repressive of regimes. While the icon of the Buddha is different in each of these countries, its offering of refuge, inner peace and harmony in the midst of unrelenting social change is unmistakable.
Bush, Producer & Director of The Yatra
Trilogy/Journey Into Buddhism
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE • 81
MINUTES • YATRA 1 • $19.95
DVDs are Region 0 and encoded to work on all players worldwide