Friday, September 29, 2006

Mahasangha~"A ZEN LIFE - D.T. Suzuki" at Vancouver International Film Festival

A ZEN LIFE - D.T. Suzuki
Saturday, Sept. 30, 3:30 pm
Empire Granville Cinema 2
Saturday, Oct. 7, 7:00 pm
Ridge Theatre

The film's director, Michael Goldberg, and co-producer, John Wittmayer, will be present at the screenings.

"A ZEN LIFE" is a feature documentary about Buddhist scholar Daisetz Suzuki (1870 - 1966), credited with introducing Zen to the West. Daisetz Suzuki was instrumental in healing the wounds and deep mistrust between East and West in the aftermath of World War 2.

He helped shift the focus on Japan as a sworn enemy, to another Japan that possessed a sublime and fascinating culture from which the West could benefit and learn. Dr. Suzuki lived in the United States from 1897 to 1908. In 1911 he married an American, Beatrice Lane, who helped him with his work until her death in 1939. After the War he traveled and taught extensively in the United States and Europe.

Many renowned Western thinkers (e.g. Fr. Thomas Merton, Huston Smith, Alan Watts), artists (John Cage, Gary Snyder, etc.), and psychologists (Carl Jung, Erich Fromm, etc.) were strongly affected by his writings and friendship. The "Beat" literary movement in the West was heavily influenced by his writings concerning Eastern religion and philosophy. In addition to Daisetz Suzuki's life story and excerpts from his talks about Zen, the film delves into his interest in Pure Land Buddhism. Inter-faith dialogue was, in his mind, a key to peace, and part of the documentary is devoted to Buddhism and Christianity. The "Zen boom" coincided with a rise in popularity of psychoanalysis, both of which deal with the problem of the "self."

Intersperced with footage, photos and audio recordings of D.T. Suzuki, many of them never before made public, are interviews of people who knew him, inspiring in their own right. A pioneer in improving East-West relations, his numerous writings in English and Japanese serve as an inspiration even today. Dr. Suzuki's message is all the more important now, in light of contemporary conflicts stemming from divergent ways of thinking.

For more information about the screenings:
Vancouver International Film Festival

For more information about the film:
The DT Suzuki Documentary Project

In addition:
"A ZEN LIFE - D.T. Suzuki"
SUNDAY OCTOBER 8, 2:00 - 4:30 pm at Simon Fraser University, Harbour
Centre, in the Terasen Gas Theatre, Room 1800, 515 West Hastings St. in
downtown Vancouver.

The Thomas Merton Society of Canada & the Interdisciplinary Programs at SFU present A Zen Life: D. T. Suzuki, a new film by Canadian Michael Goldberg that features thematic segments on aspects of Zen as well as the life story of D. T. Suzuki, the scholar and master who is credited with introducing Zen Buddhism to the West. Following the film, Merton scholar Donald Grayston will give a short talk about Thomas Merton's fascination with Zen and his relationship with D. T. Suzuki. Filmmaker Michael Goldberg, Executive Producer/Director of A Zen Life, will share insights about the process of making this extraordinary film. He worked as an independent scholar and producer: an often brutal experience but one that resulted in a definitive film record of Suzuki.

Minimum donation (to assist the filmmaker and rental costs) $5 at the
Info: Susan Cowan, TMSC Community Relations Director @

For a short intro on D.T. Suzuki, please go to this website.
For further information about the Philosophers' Café:
For further information about the Canadian Academy of Independent

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