CONNECTED    Buy Tickets

Opening Night Film

Thursday, June 14 at 7:30 pm

111 Minutes plus opening ceremony & program and director Q & A

Filmmaker Tiffany Shlain takes us on a warm and exhilarating journey of self-discovery with CONNECTED. Witty and poignant, it’s a personal film with universal relevance. It leads us to the liberating idea that after centuries of declaring our independence, it just may be time for us to declare our INTERdependence.

Have you ever faked a restroom trip to check your email? Slept with your laptop? Or become so overwhelmed that you just unplugged from it all? In this funny, eye-opening and inspiring film (more...)

Director Tiffany Shlain will join us via Skype to take questions from the audience.

Friday, June 15 at 9 pm
97 Minutes

Winner Best Spiritual Film and Best Spiritual Documentary at the 2009 European Film Festival in Paris

"Living is an art to be learned."  -- Phra Khru Bah, Buddhist monk

This is a breathtaking true story of compassion in action, as an extraordinary Thai monk helps transform neglected village boys into self-confident novices. With its stunning cinematography and powerful storytelling, this film has won many awards at film festivals around the world. Be prepared to have your heart opened.

BUDDHA’S LOST CHILDREN covers a year in the life of a small, roving monastic community, and it captures the struggle of forgotten young souls at the edge of Thai society  (more...)


BARAKA    Buy Tickets

Saturday, June 16 at 12 Noon

96 Minutes

We pick up on our opening night theme of interconnectedness with BARAKA, an extraordinary jewel of a film. It’s a guided meditation on the interdependence of all life, and it's probably unlike anything you've ever seen before.

Named after a Sufi word that translates roughly as "breath of life" or "blessing," BARAKA is director Ron Fricke’s impressive follow-up to Godfrey Reggio’s iconic KOYAANISQATSI. Fricke was cinematographer and collaborator on Reggio’s film, and for BARAKA he struck out on his own to polish and expand his photographic techniques.

The result is a tour-de-force that Fricke describes as a “cinematic guided meditation,”  a film in which we are invited to consider humanity’s relation to the eternal  (more...)



Sneak Preview

Saturday, June 16 at 3 pm

104 Minutes plus Tsoknyi Rinpoche talk and meditation and director Q&A

The much-awaited film from Victress Hitchcock, the acclaimed director who brought us BLESSINGS, is finally here.

WHEN THE IRON BIRD FLIES traces the astounding path of one of the world’s great spiritual traditions, from the caves of Tibet to the mainstream of western culture. The film asks the question: In these incredibly chaotic, modern times, can these age old teachings help us find genuine happiness -- and create a saner, more compassionate 21st century world? (more...)

Director Victress Hitchcock and Co-Producer Amber Bemak will be present to take questions from the audience.

BODHISATTVA     Buy Tickets

East Coast Premiere

Sunday, June 16 at 2:45 pm.

70 Minutes plus "The Way of Shambhala" talk and meditation and director Q & A

BuddhaFest is very pleased to present the new film, BODHISATTVA - THE JOURNEY OF THE SEVENTEENTH GYALWA KARMAPA. This is only the third public screening of the film anywhere in the world. BODHISATTVA is a rare look at the Seventeenth Gyalwa Karmapa, one of the most important Lamas in the world of Tibetan Buddhism. Many view him as the natural successor to the Dalai Lama, and the face of Tibetan Buddhism for a new generation.

The film follows this young man of extraordinary warmth, humanity and charisma as he embarks (more...)

Director Mark Elliott, who also directed THE LION’S ROAR, the seminal film on the Sixteenth Karmapa, will be present to take questions from the audience.



Sunday, June 17 at 7 pm

93 Minutes plus Closing Night program and director Q & A

Ram Dass makes live appearance via Skype

This film is part of our closing night program, "The Power of Grace - A Tribute to Ram Dass." Krishna Das leads the evening, and Ram Dass makes a rare appearance live via Skype from his home in Maui.

"When I first met Ram Dass 25 years ago," says director Mickey Lemle, "one of his messages that touched me was that we are both human and divine -- and that we must hold both simultaneously. He would explain that if one goes too far in the direction of one's humanity, one suffers. If one goes too far in the direction of one's divinity, one runs the risk of forgetting one's zip code." 

RAM DASS: FIERCE GRACE is a portrait of Ram Dass (Richard Alpert), 60s guru, spiritual teacher, cohort of Timothy Leary, and author of Be Here Now, one of the most influential books of the 1970s. The film begins as Ram Dass confronts the effects of a massive stroke he suffered in February 1997, leaving him physically incapacitated and with impaired memory and speech. (more...)

Director Mickey Lemle will be present to take questions from the audience.




The Alchemy of Transformation: Awakening Our Hearts, Healing Our World
Friday, June 15 at 7 pm


90 Minutes

Tara Brach, Jonathan Foust, Congressman Tim Ryan

This is a rare opportunity to see a leading dharma teacher and a U.S. congressman sit down and discuss mindfulness together.

Jonathan Foust begins this special evening by inviting us into an embodied presence. He leads a guided practice in mindful movement and breathing to support us in slowing down and being more present.

Tara Brach discusses the power that a mindfulness practice brings to freeing our hearts, and she shows how it can help bring intimacy and transformation to our closest relationships. Congressman Tim Ryan, author of A Mindful Nation, talks about the power that mindfulness has to transform our society. He is an outspoken advocate for using mindfulness to help solve some of the country's complex problems, and he discusses many of the exciting ways in which that's starting to be done. 

Together, Tara and the Congressman also share personal experiences and answer questions from the audience.

Congressman Ryan joins us at 6 pm in the lobby for a meet and greet and book-signing.


Sacred Earth: Healing Ourselves, Healing Our Planet  

Presented by BuddhaFest and the World Wildlife Fund


Saturday, June 16 at 10 am

1 Hour 45 Minutes

Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Sharon Salzberg. They are joined by Lou Leonard and Dekila Chungyulpa of WWF.

"Many people suffer deeply and they do not know they suffer. They try to cover up the suffering by being busy. Many people get sick today because they get alienated from Mother Earth. The practice of mindfulness helps us to touch Mother Earth inside of the body, and this practice can help heal people. So the healing of the people should go together with the healing of the Earth. This is the insight, and it is possible for anyone to practice."

      - Thich Nhat Hanh

We have reached a critical juncture in our biological and social evolution. Many scientists have concluded that the survival of human civilization is at stake. There has never been a more important time in history to bring the resources of Buddhism to bear on behalf of all living beings.

Climate change is probably the greatest humanitarian and environmental challenge the world faces today. How can we as Buddhists positively contribute to slowing climate change and minimizing its impacts? Tsoknyi Rinpoche and Sharon Salzberg explore the vital role that compassion and awareness can play in helping us to awaken from our illusion of separateness from others -- and from the Earth.

Following their teaching, they are joined by Lou Leonard and Dekila Chungyulpa of the World Wildlife Fund. They discuss how Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in the Himalayas are responding to the threat of climate change, and practical ways that each of us can be part of the global solution.

We then each have an opportunity to sign a unique document that has emerged from the contributions of more than 20 Buddhist teachers from all traditions. It's called, "The Time to Act is Now - A Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change." HH the Dalai Lama was the first to sign it, and this is how the declaration concludes:

"We have a brief window of opportunity to take action, to preserve humanity from imminent disaster, and to assist the survival of the many diverse and beautiful forms of life on Earth. Future generations, and the other species that share the biosphere with us, have no voice to ask for our compassion, wisdom, and leadership. We must listen to their silence. We must be their voice, too, and act on their behalf."         


Happiness for No Reason: Awakening Essence Love  

Saturday, June 16 at 2:15 pm

45 Minutes plus sneak preview of WHEN THE IRON BIRD FLIES

Tsoknyi Rinpoche

With his lively, humorous and insightful way of teaching the time tested and ever-relevant truths of dharma, Tsoknyi Rinpoche explores how we can uncover and nurture the basic spark of our Buddha nature amidst this speedy modern world and our active lives. Rinpoche’s talk and meditation set the stage for WHEN THE IRON BIRD FLIES.
Krishna Das in Concert

With Special Guests Tsoknyi Rinpoche & Sharon Salzberg

Saturday, June 17 at 8 pm

3 Hours

Devotion gives birth to an open-hearted and intelligent appreciation, both delight and gratitude, for the healing, compassionate nature of enlightened beings -- and for their constant blessings. Devotion also helps us with recognition and trust for what we naturally are -- for what our true identity is. Tsoknyi Rinpoche and Sharon Salzberg discuss the nature and power of devotion, then Krishna Das leads us in a stirring evening of kirtan.


Being Awake in the World  
Sunday, June 17 at 10 am

2 Hours

Venerable Pannavati Bhikkhuni

The Buddha taught by both precept and example. He not only directly addressed the issues of his day with boldness, clarity, skill and compassion, but he was proactive in works. He is quoted to have said on a few occasions, "When I was yet an unelightened Boddhisattva...." That suggests a cultivated inclination to live for the sake of others. So we have to ask the question, "Is social conscience a prerequisite for Buddhahood?" 

The answer for many, including Pannavati, is yes. Join her for a conversation on compassionate wisdom in action, as she looks at how social conscience can be an instrument by which we measure our inner and outer Buddha nature.

Following her talk and meditation, Pannavati is joined on stage by teens and leaders from iBme (Inward Bound Mindfulness Education). This wonderful group is dedicated to introducing teens to meditation and mindfulness, and helps them cultivate awareness, compassion and kindness for themselves, for others, and for the environment. Teens share what it means to them to be awake and of service in the world, and several of them treat us to performances that showcase their talents.

As part of the morning program, we also screen the five films that were Runners-Up and Director's Choice selections in the BuddhaFest Short Films Showcase presented by Tricycle. 


Buddha Nature Brain: From Hatred, Greed, and Heartache to Peace, Happiness, and Love

Sunday, June 17 at 1 pm

80 Minutes

Rick Hanson

Throughout history, great saints and sages have entered profound states of mind through cultivating extraordinary states in their brains. Nowadays, we are learning that these elevated states of consciousness are available to all of us.

Neuropsychologist and meditation teacher Rick Hanson uses the new field of contemplative neuroscience to show us how to sustain an abiding presence of peace, happiness, love, and wisdom in our brain's "home base." This natural state, when it's undisturbed by threat, frustration, and rejection, is the neuropsychological basis for undoing states of hatred, greed, heartache, and delusion - the four fuels for the fire of suffering.
The Way of Shambhala: Meditation, Basic Goodness, and Enlightened Society
Sunday, June 17 at 2:45 pm

90 Minutes plus East Coast premiere of BODHISATTVA
Jerry Webster, Christian Gregory, Jayne Sutton

When so much in our world seems to be unraveling and falling apart, there exists tremendous potential to bring the sanity, kindness, and gentleness we discover in the practice of meditation directly into our lives--not just to make life easier for ourselves, but to truly be of benefit to others.

The legend of Shambhala tells of a kingdom whose subjects have developed--through meditation--confidence in their basic goodness, resulting in a harmonious, enlightened society.  The contemporary Shambhala Buddhist teachings of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche tell us that such a society is possible, right here and now.

This workshop will begin with an introduction to meditation as taught at the DC Shambhala Center, leading into a discussion about the nature of basic goodness and the possibility of creating a compassionate society on this earth. Participants will have an opportunity to contemplate these ideas and discuss them in small groups. We will close with an aspiration for general well-being.


Closing Night

The Power of Grace: A Tribute to Ram Dass

Sunday, June 17 at 7 pm

3 Hours 15 minutes

Krishna Das, Ram Dass, Mickey Lemle

“If we know anything about a path at all, it’s only because of the Great Ones that have gone before us," says Krishna Das. "Out of their love and kindness, they have left some footprints to follow.” On the closing night of BuddhaFest, we pay tribute to one of the great ones from our own era, Ram Dass. This is going to be a very special evening.

Ram Dass has been a seminal figure in the modern consciousness movement, sparking spiritual journeys for many with his generation-defining book, Be Here Now. He has been a close friend and spiritual brother of Krishna Das since introducing him to their guru, Maharaj-ji.

Krishna Das opens the evening with a talk and meditation. We then screen RAM DASS: FIERCE GRACE. After the film, Ram Dass joins us for a rare appearance live via Skype. Director Mickey Lemle takes questions from the audience. Krishna Das then closes out the festival with a special musical performance in tribute to his beloved friend, Ram Dass.