We recently discovered two short documentaries on Vipassana meditation that I found very interesting. They contain some general history of meditation so can be of interest to anyone, such as me, not just people who practice Vipassana meditation. Each is about an hour long and available on vimeo, links provided below. The first is generally available. The second has its premiere today, 10/25. As such it requires a password to access, provided below with link. It will be generally available after November 8. Both are free. Here are the descriptions of each film and their links.
From Myanmar to the World: Part 1 – Overland to India
This one-hour film follows a few Westerners among the thousands, who traveled the world in the early 1970s, “looking for something.” It’s the story of those hippies and seekers who discovered India, S.N. Goenka and the priceless gift of Dhamma. It’s also the story of a remarkable man who brought Vipassana meditation to the world. And finally, it’s a heartfelt tribute to the land and people of India.
From Myanmar to the World: Part 2 – Caves to Pagodas
Long ago, after receiving guidance from the Buddha, meditators would withdraw to practice in the solitude of a forest or a cave. Fast forward to the 1950s, when Burmese meditation master Sayagyi U Ba Khin was planning his ideal meditation center in Yangon. Inspired by some ancient structures in India, he chose a design featuring concentric rings of meditation “caves,” sheltered under the soaring structure of a golden Burmese zedi, or pagoda. This is the story of how Sayagyi U Ba Khin’s design was re-created first in India by his disciple, S.N. Goenka, and decades later in locations all over the world. For a meditation tradition that claims to have nothing to do with organized religion, some questioned the seemingly religious architecture. But are the pagodas merely decorative, or is there a practical function, something meditators can actually experience and benefit from?