2011 Films & Talks



Opening Night Film
I AM  
Thursday, June 16     7:30pm  80 min.

Film ticket includes the full Opening Night program

"THE TRANSFORMATIONAL MOVEMENT HAS A GREAT FRIEND IN TOM SHADYAC. He delivers esoteric knowledge to a popular audience, expressing the intersection of ancient wisdom and modern consciousness in a way both entertaining and enlightening. I AM IS A SPARK OF LIGHT AND A WORK OF LOVE"

            -Marianne Williamson

Watching I AM is, for many, a transformative experience.  The film’s great emphasis is on what we can do to make things better.  In spirit, this film embraces Buddhist teachings, illustrating how the principles of cooperation, compassion and generosity are universal, and how they resonate at the core of our humanity...(more)   

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East Coast Premiere 
Friday, June 17     9pm     86 min.

Director Johanna Demetrakas will be present for a discussion andQ & A following the film.     

Allen Ginsberg considered him his guru; Thomas Merton wanted to write a book with him; Pema Chodron was his student and Joni Mitchell wrote a song about him. This film will surely challenge anyone’s assumptions about what constitutes a proper dharma teacher... (more) 


World Premiere
Saturday, June 18     12:30pm      99 min.

Director Christina Lundberg will be present for a discussion andQ & A following the film

What’s love got to do with it?  Everything.  What kind of person would you become if you had been imprisoned for 20 years?  As this film shows, you can become a highly awakened master who radiates love and compassion...(more)

Film ticket also includes a talk and meditation with Tara Brach.

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Saturday, June 18     7pm     103 min   

From the World Cup to the mythical mountain kingdom of Bhutan, Words of My Perfect Teacher follows three students on a quest they hope will lead to wisdom. The catch is their teacher -- who confounds their expectations at every turn...(more)

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East Coast Premiere
Saturday, June 18     9pm     110 min 

Un Buda is the brilliant feature film debut of director Diego Rafecas, a Zen teacher in Argentina. The film follows two brothers who were orphaned as children when their parents were taken by the military during the “Dirty Wars” of the 1970s in Argentina. Tomas (Agustin Markert) is now a drifting and withdrawn young man who experiments with ascetic practices and has an instinctive compassion for others...(more)

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Sunday, June 19     11am    

The film is followed by a 1-hour lunch break, then Ruth King's talk & meditation. One ticket covers both the film and Ruth's talk.

We like this film because it not only makes us cheer on Tenzin Palmo and her cause, but it's also very revealing about a subject we knew little about. It was intriguing to see how even those who dedicate their lives to cultvating compassion and wisdom can still be held in a spell of judgment by deep-seated gender biases in their cultures.  

This film is made from the best-selling book documenting the life of Tenzin Palmo, the daughter of an East London fishmonger who left everything she knew behind to pursue her spiritual path. (more) 

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Sunday, June 19     3:00pm     80 min

The film is preceded by a Hugh Byrne talk and meditation on inner peace, as well as a discussion on HH the Dalai Lama's upcoming    11-day Kalachakra for World Peace right here in Washington, DC

This film by Werner Herzog (Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Grizzly Man) is a mesmerizing look at the 2002 Kalachakra ceremony performed in Bodh Gaya, India. It was here, some 2,600 years ago, where Siddartha found truth and became known as the Buddha, "the enlightened one."  

The center of the Kalachakra celebration — on both the physical and spiritual planes — is the building and viewing of the sand mandala, a dazzlingly complex circular diagram painstakingly laid out by a team of monks who... (more)

Film ticket also includes Hugh Byrne's teaching & meditation and a discussion about the upcoming Kalachakra.

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Sunday, June 19     7pm    78  min

Winner of two bronze Telly Awards for Overall Documentary and Spiritual/Religious Documentary

Filmmaker Matt Flickstein will be present for a discussion and Q & A following the film

Only in recent times has it been possible to make the world’s vast spiritual teachings available to a global audience, and to create a dialogue between its most revered teachers. Now, for the first time, many of them appear together in one film, their comments woven together in a provocative tapestry of wisdom and promise.

In this groundbreaking film, contemporary mystics share their common vision of our human essence, and they invite us to see beyond our illusionary separateness. If we do, they say, there is no problem we cannot solve. Ultimately, their voices lead and exhort us to hear... (more)

Film ticket also includes a talk and meditation by NY Times bestselling author and leading American meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg.




Friday, June 17     7pm   90 min.

Lama Tsony speaks to us about the film and the concept of Crazy Wisdom. Drawing inspiration from the film's subject, the great teacher Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche,  Lama Tsony talks about freedom; freedom from the system and freedom from traditions that may no longer serve our current conditions. By embracing the times he lived in, Trungpa Rinpoche turned the art of living into an enlightened master class on contemporary culture.  Much to the shock, dismay and delight of others, he embodied a quality of fearlessness that was like licking honey off a razor blade.

As a Buddhist monk for over 25 years, Lama Tsony completed two traditional 3-year retreats under the great meditation master Lama Gendun Rinpoche. For 15 years he was the Abbot of Kundrel Ling Monastery in France where hundreds of other Westerners have also completed 3-year retreats. Since 1999 he has been teaching at the Bodhi Path centers under the spiritual guidance of Shamar Rinpoche. In 2005 he began the transfer of his responsibilities in the monastic community in order to foster the growing Bodhi Path projects. Now a lay teacher, Lama Tsony devotes his time to teaching Tibetan Buddhism and meditation practice throughout Europe and the U.S.


Saturday, June 18   10am  90 min.

In this dharma talk and meditation, Rudy Bauer guides us in the practice of becoming aware of the field of awareness. As we more fully inhabit this field, we more fully experience not only our own true nature, but also the continuous benefit of true peace.  

To become aware of awareness itself is to open a vast area of experience. In this dharma talk and meditation, Rudy Bauer will guide us in the fascinating practice of becoming aware of awareness. As we more fully inhabit this field of awareness, we more fully experience our own true nature -- our Buddha nature -- and experience the benefits of true peace. 

Most often people are located in the mind, wrapped up in thinking, feeling, sensation, memory, and imagination. If we can suspend the functions of our minds for just a moment -- then, instead of being with the mind’s experience of awareness, we can be with awareness itself.  In that brief moment of suspension, it is possible to glimpse that the mind is not the same as awareness.  With this tiny shift in attention, the very light of awareness itself begins to open up. We may begin to sense that awareness is a field--one that is multi-dimensional and infinite in its horizon.

Utilizing the methods of Dzogchen meditation and experiential phenomenology, Rudy Bauer teaches how to enter into the innate, immediate field of awareness.  We can integrate our mind into this awareness field and begin to think, feel and sense through the field. With practice, the field of awareness and its primordial qualities slowly become the organizer of our personality, expressing the qualities of spaciousness, energy, luminosity and compassion.

Rudolph Bauer, Ph.D. ABPP is Co-Director of The Washington Center for Consciousness Studies where he teaches seminars in non dual psychotherapy and Dzogchen awareness meditation. and editor of Transmission: The Journal of the Awareness Field. He has had the good fortune of studying for many years with many Masters of Dzogchen, Kashmir Shavism and Daoist Qi Gong. He is also a psychotherapist phenomenologist who articulates Dzogchen understanding and practice within the context of phenomenology.   


Saturday, June 18     12:30pm

Love--The Ultimate Medicine
Einstein writes that "the most important decision any of us can ever make is that this world is a friendly place."  Is this true?  What allows us to trust in the power and presence of love?  In this talk, Tara Brach explores the trance that obscures our intrinsic belonging, and the practices that reveal our shining, beautiful hearts.

Garchen Rinpoche, the subject of the film, FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL BEINGS serves as an inspiration as Tara Brach explores how we deepen our love for ourselves and others. We then present the World Premiere of FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL BEINGS. Director Christina Lundberg will be with us to share her experiences in making the film, and she'll take questions from the audience.

Tara Brach, Ph.D., is a leading western teacher of Buddhist meditation, emotional healing and spiritual awakening. She has practiced and taught meditation for over 35 years, with an emphasis on vipassana, also called mindfulness or insight meditation. Tara is the senior teacher and founder of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington. Tara is a peace activist and an engaged Buddhist.  She is co-founder of the Washington, DC Buddhist Peace Fellowship. A clinical psychologist, she is the author of Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha.  Her upcoming book, True Refuge - Three Gateways to a Fearless Heart will be published by Bantam in 2012. Tara is nationally known for her skill in weaving western psychological wisdom with a range of meditative practices. Her approach emphasizes compassion for oneself and others, mindful presence and the direct realization and embodiment of natural awareness.


Saturday, June 18  4pm  90min.

There is a Zen koan that asks, "What does the Boddhisattva Avalokitesvara, the embodiment of compassion, do with all those hands and eyes?" Since she began teaching 25 years ago, Roshi Enkyo has fostered the imperative of social engagement in the practice of Zen Buddhism at her center in New York City. The question of what to do with all those “hands and eyes” points us to the heart of the matter: how do we fully engage in our life, which is also the life of the world?

How do our Buddhist teachings and practices lead us naturally to a life that actively engages the world around us?Roshi will discuss such dangers on the path as infatuation with other-worldliness, the illusion of separateness, and self-centered practice. How can we move into a more skillful understanding of the teachings? How can we be aware, courageous and wise?

First we engage the here and now; the awareness of the suffering around us, and specific remedies that we can offer such as listening, holding a hand, serving food, tutoring, offering work. Then, with the insights that arise out of this, we begin to recognize the broader social structure that brings the present suffering into being.  And we find ways to change them. 

Roshi will offer a dharma teaching, exercises and meditations as methods of inquiring into what stops us from active engagement.

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Ruth's talk is preceded at 11 am by the film CAVE IN THE SNOW and a 1-hour lunch break. One ticket covers both the film and Ruth's talk.

Sunday, June 19  1pm

Jack Kornfield says “King has articulated the painful history, patterns and traps of a raging heart, and offers the skillful means for liberation in their very midst. This is revolutionary work.”If you haven’t spent time with Ruth King, you should! 

As a facilitator, coach, consultant, and scholar of indigenous wisdom, Ruth helps provide us with a unique understanding of what it means to be emotionally wise. With the skill of a shaman, she weaves together influences from depth psychology, mindfulness principles, neurobiology and genealogy, as she helps us enhance our own emotional awareness and moral consciousness.  In this experiential presentation, she will show us how to live in a way that honors the totality of our human experience, allowing both suffering and joy on the path to becoming awake.

Emotional Wisdom is the mental development of heart and mind. It’s a quality of awareness; a presence that allows us to reflect on our lives lovingly, and leverage this knowledge to connect in ways that touch, shape, and heal the global human heart.  One measure of Emotional Wisdom is in how consistently we manage ourselves when we are suffering. Suffering is often fed through our inattention or unawareness. When we stay close to the truth of this moment without an overlay of defense, we become more grounded and clear. We discover that we can open to the humanness of others and ourselves without fear, and that people, just like us, do unskillful things out of pain and confusion. 

We have all suffered and we are all capable of unfathomable kindness, compassion, and joy.

The work of Emotional Wisdom is an inner journey that unifies mind and heart. We are not searching outside of ourselves; we are revealing to ourselves the depth of our true nature-which will be unique to each of us. While unique, this inner work is also to be understood within the context of global oneness. We are not separate from what happens to and around us–we are a part of its creation through our thoughts and actions. Disturbances within our own hearts, in our relationships, our communities, our work, our land, the environment, and throughout the world are the gross result of our collective thoughts and actions. Our responsibility as global citizens is to become emotionally wise, and in so doing, balance global disorder and foster peace. One of the most profound aspects of this session will be how she helps us work with rage as a powerful healing force in our lives.

Ruth King, MA, has done pioneering work in the area of emotional wisdom. She is the author of the groundbreaking book Healing Rage - Women Making Inner Peace Possible, as well as Soothing the Inner Flames of Rage - Meditations That Educate the Heart and Transform the Mind. Weaving depth psychology, mindfulness principles, reflective cognition, neurobiology, metaphysics, and geneology, King provides methods that enhance self awareness; social skills that foster a wholesome mind, intellectual confidence, moral consciousness and humility; and ambition that leaves good legacy.Ruth has studied Therevada and Mahayana traditions since 1992, and received Dzogchen tramsmission in 2006 from lineage holder Cecile Mchardy -- fondly known as The Friendly Dragon. She is a life coach, retreat leader and consultant to organizations.  


Ticket includes Hugh's talk & meditation, a discussion on the upcoming Kaklchakra, and the film WHEEL OF TIME.

Sunday, June 19   3pm  150 min.

An amazing thing is happening here in DC.  This July, HH the Dalai Lama will be performing the rare public initiation called The Kalachakra for Peace.  It's a 12-day spiritual conclave that revolves around the creation of a sacred sand mandala which embodies a multi-dimensional realm of being.  The Dalai Lama performs this incredible initiation as a way to sow the seed of enlightenment on a mass scale in order to "turn the wheel," recalibrate, and move forward to a new time. Thousands of monks and pilgrims from all over the world will arrive in Washington, DC to be part of this very special moment.  For many, the trip is a joyous yet arduous undertaking, involving long travel as well as financial and physical hardships.  Those of us living in this area are blessed to already be here.In the spirit of Kalachakra, Hugh Byrne will speak to us about cultivating inner peace so that we can act as agents of peace in a new and changing world. Your ticket includes Hugh's teaching & meditation, as well as a discussion on the upcoming Kaklchakra, and the film WHEEL OF TIME.    

Hugh Byrne, Ph. D. has studied and practiced Buddhism in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. He completed a four-year teacher training at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and the Insight Meditation Society led by Jack Kornfield. He is a co-founder of the Washington Buddhist Peace Fellowship and the Mindfulness Training Institute of Washington. He is a senior teacher with the Insight Meditation Community of Washington and has served on its board since 2003.  Hugh has trained in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and in Somatic Experiencing, a mind/body approach to healing trauma. He has a law degree from London University and a Ph.D. in political science from UCLA and has worked extensively on issues of human rights.

Ticket includes Hugh's talk & meditation, a discussion on the upcoming Kaklchakra, and the film WHEEL OF TIME.

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Closing Session 
Sunday, June 19     7pm  165 min.

Sharon leads a meditation and talk on our shared experience as human beings in search of real happiness.  The evening includes a screening of the powerful and moving film WITH ONE VOICE.  Contemporary mystics and teachers share their common vision of our human essence in this groundbreaking documentary that received two prestigous Telly Awards.

Filmmaker Matt Flickstein will be with us to share the incredible spiritual journey that led him to make this film, and he'll answer questions from the audience. We'll then have an opportunity to enjoy refreshments and connect one last time with community as BuddhaFest 2011 comes to a close.

Sharon Salzberg is one of the leading meditation and spiritual teachers in the world. She co-founded the Insight Meditation Society with Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein, and is the author of eight books, including the just-released Real Happiness, which debuted on the New York Times extended bestseller list at #15.  Sharon is a frequent writer on The Huffington Post and has been a contributing editor at O, The Oprah Magazine.  She divides her time between Barre, Massachusetts, home of the Insight Meditation Society, and New York City. Sharon is a teacher of Asian meditation practices, focusing on vipassana and brahmavihara meditations. Along with Joseph Goldstein, she also co-founded the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and The Forest Refuge as a long-term meditation retreat center.