Video Dharma ~ Shunryu Suzuki’s “Zen in America”

The following video clips are, I believe, from the documentary Sunseed released in 1973.  Below is a review from the NY Times.  It seems maybe that not much has really changed.  Buddhists are still on the fringe.  This is especially ture with the convert community in rural areas.  Too small in numbers or loosely affiliated to create a supportive sangha at times and also uncomfortable or simply not open or comfortable to practice in Asian centers. (I understand that many Asian centers offer English service and dharma talks but a sense of community can be difficult to foster when blocked or intimitated by language and tradition).  I look forward to my eventual move to a more urban area in order to explore some new communities since I will be in the market.

Anyway, enjoy the review and the clips.  I wish that PBS’s Buddha documentary was as honest as this.  No narration or commentary.  Just the daily workings of practice and the words of those that guide it.

Lavish hostility has been leveled against the new mysticism by those who feel that the upsurge of religious cults has siphoned off the political energies of the young. However, the charge doesn’t seem to be historically valid—since many began dropping out of politics well before the latest wave of gurus arrived. Ranging from fatigue to fears of Federal reprisal, fears of further Kent and Jackson States, ravaging fights among those on the same side, and the loss of confidence about being able to remake American society, the reasons for that massive recoil could (and no doubt will) make a book the length of “The Sotweed Factor.”

Meanwhile, emotional malnutrition has been rampant in this country. Hence it seems rather inevitable that some—including people who tried and eventually rejected drugs — turned to various forms of religion.

“Sunseed,” which opened yesterday at the Whitney Museum of American Art, offers a sympathetic introduction to the New Age. The director, Fredrick Cohn, partakes of that movement himself. But he doesn’t preach or clutch at converts. The documentary, which tours India as well as America, is based on interviews with 10 spiritual leaders and shows some of them meditating with their followers.


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