Tuesday, 27 October 2009

"A Zen Life - D.T. Suzuki" - 3 free screenings in the UK

I have come across Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki when I was reading about Tomie Ohtake’s artistic work and decided to find out more about him as his words really resonated with me. Here are two of his quotes from his book “Zen and Japanese culture”:

“When traveling is made too easy and comfortable, its spiritual meaning is lost. This may be called sentimentalism, but a certain sense of loneliness engendered by traveling leads one to reflect upon the meaning of life, for life is after all a travelling from one unknown to another unknown.”

“The artist's world is one of free creation, and this can only come from intuitions directly and immediately rising from the isness of things, unhampered by senses and intellect. He creates forms and sounds out of formlessness and soundlessness. To this extent, the artist's world coincides with that of Zen.”

Funnily only a day later we received an email about three free public screenings of “A ZEN LIFE - D.T. Suzuki” at universities in the UK next month. Here is what the director/ producer Michael Goldberg writes:

“A ZEN LIFE - D.T. Suzuki” is a 77-minute documentary about Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki (1870-1966) the Japanese lay Buddhist, prolific writer and teacher credited with introducing Zen Buddhism to the West.

With an excellent grasp of English, Daisetsu Suzuki was highly successful at getting Westerners to appreciate the Japanese mentality, and Japanese to see the merit of Western logic. He earned widespread respect for his deep insights into Eastern and Western religions and philosophies. The effect he had on Western psychology, philosophy, religious thinking, and the arts was profound.

A variety of excerpts from Dr. Suzuki's talks about Zen and Buddhism, Christianity, and psychoanalysis punctuate the film. Inter-faith dialogue and mutual respect were, in his mind, keys to peace. He has said that the Westerner who best understood Zen was Father Thomas Merton. Interwoven with film footage, photos and audio recordings of D.T. Suzuki are interviews of many people who knew him, including Huston Smith, Gary Snyder, Robert Aitken, William Theodore de Bary, Donald Richie, Mihoko Okamura, and Dr. Albert Stunkard, with rare historical footage of Fr. Thomas Merton, John Cage, Erich Fromm, and the voice of Christmas Humphreys.

A pioneer in improving East-West relations, his numerous writings in English and Japanese, translated into many languages, serve as an inspiration even today. Daisetsu Suzuki's message is all the more important now, in light of contemporary conflicts stemming from divergent ways of thinking.


Monday, 23 November at 6:30pm
Interfaith Chapel, University of Glasgow, West Quadrangle

Screening followed by Q&A with director

No reservation necessary
For further information about the Glasgow screening, please contact Joan Keenan, Interfaith Chaplaincy, on 0141 330 5419 or joan.keenan@admin.gla.ac.uk

Tuesday, 24 November, 5:15pm - 7:30pm (doors open 5 pm)
Arts Lecture Theatre, Lower Ground Floor, Samuel Alexander Building
University of Manchester
Screening followed by Q&A with director

No reservation necessary for the Manchester screening

Thursday, 26 November, 6:30 – 8:30 pm (reception afterwards)
Brunei Lecture Theatre, SOAS, Russell Square

University of London
Screening followed by Q&A with director and panel discussion

Please reserve in advance for the SOAS event by contacting info@azenlife-film.org, ts@soas.ac.uk, or tl3@soas.ac.uk or call 01442 890882

These events are sponsored by

The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation
The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation

For more information visit www.azenlife-film.org or email info@azenlife-film.org