» The Long Search: Buddhism: The Land of the Disappearing Buddha (1977)
The Long Search: Buddhism: The Land of the Disappearing Buddha (1977) HD online
The Long Search: Buddhism: The Land of the Disappearing Buddha
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In this TV documentary, Ronald Eyre goes around Japan seeking the "Disappearing Buddha" by highlighting the often confusing duality of most Buddhist thinking. While the documentary does a passable job of introducing some very basic aspects of various Japanese Buddhist sects, what it mostly ends up achieving is walking circles around how strange the answers Eyre receives to basically unanswerable questions are (i.e. "What/who is the Buddha?"). I felt it wasn't a total miss as things such as Zen swordplay, calligraphy, and tea ceremony are beautifully filmed and presented. Also the integration of Buddhism and Shinto into daily life is well explained. I think the biggest failure of this documentary however, is that it fails to clearly acknowledge that most Japanese Buddhism hinges on the idea that Buddhist thought and nature is something that can't be explained verbally and is only understood through experience.
I started this film hoping to gain interesting insights in to zen thinking, but I was ultimately disappointed by a very foreign approach that led me to wonder if the writers ever really intended to answer questions or wanted instead to leave viewers puzzling over strange and oriental thinking. Leaving more questions than answers is occasionally acceptable, but here it seems opportunities to explain are deliberately ignored. Disconnected and unfinished thoughts throughout the film lead me to rate it below average.