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Amongst White Clouds (2005) HD online

Amongst White Clouds (2005) HD online
Language: English
Category: Creative Work / Documentary
Original Title: Amongst White Clouds
Director: Edward A. Burger
Writers: Edward A. Burger
Released: 2005
Duration: 1h 26min
Video type: Creative Work
A journey exploring the practices of Chinese hermits living in the Zhongnan Mountains.

Reviews: [3]

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    How rare to see a Westerner invest the time and effort actually to become fluent in another language; fluent enough to study under these hermits and make a movie about them!

    That said, this is not really a film "about" Buddhism; it's more like having tea with a succession of people who have dedicated themselves to the practice. The hermits, men and women of various ages, are depicted as individuals with personalities and pasts, and their practice as worthwhile.

    A really fine document.

    Robin Rusty Ring: Reflections of an Old-Timey Hermit (
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    Movies are opportunities to take us into different worlds. In this documentary we are taken upon the Zhongnan Mountain, that by itself would be already a hike that would have left many people behind, not only saying all the rest of the challenges ahead.

    The movie goes into the life journey of Documentarist Edward Burger, who stayed over four years studying with one of the monks, who separately or in small groups lived along the peaks of the Zhongnan mountain in China. We get to know all of the other hermits that live in other peaks considerably nearby, in very simple and honest interviews, we are one on one with every character, he characterizes them as, The Ascetic, The Wise Sage, The Student, The Friend, The Determined, The One that Smiles, The One that speaks like a Poet, and The One that it is my Guide. We get to experience the very personal and authentic journey that the author had to live in order to show us.

    From all the wisdom and insights that are shared in the movie, It always stroked me a couple of things about Zen and Buddhism, how much little is given to thinking. All the energy it is given to actually living, for the moment, to the practice, to your own actions, to discipline and to meditation. The other thing it is to how prone they can be to laughter and to have a sad and compassionate look into life. I think these three characteristics are key to understanding more about the Buddhism, the tragic, the childlike perspective and the practice.

    It is the tragic, that it is so ingrained on our mythology, or the just the acknowledgment of our own death, of our own fluidity in this life.

    It is the child perspective, where life can be blissful, before we put upon so much weigh, where we are still good at playing with nothing.

    The attention it is to the practice, to our actions, to be aware and to be present in every moment. All this discipline, it is to be able to see your true self, to see things as they are, and not as we have imagined upon.

    All of the monks interviewed, talk to us straight forward, but we are driven so strongly by our culture, by the myriad of false premises of what we should expect and desire from life, that we just don't expect how easily we could end up falling from what we just believed while listening to them. It is very important to pay attention on how their lives are, to really hear to what they have to say. Notice that they are mostly concerned about the practice, their everyday tasks, simple as that. We can watch this movie one thousand times, live over and over again up to five hundred years and yet never really see this movie or worst never being free.
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    Film response by Mira Sukurova The movie "Amongst white clouds" was filmed by an American director Edward Burger, who lived the life of the Chinese Buddhist hermits. They lived not in a monastery, but high in Zhungan mountains. I was astonished that a Western person, used to comforts of the life, can dare to leave everything and go on such a tough, though absolutely breath taking journey. He not only lived in isolation and developed spiritually, but also made a movie to pass his story to the common viewers. The hermits do not talk a lot in the movie, but everything they tell is very valuable and weighty. It is surprising how there are people like them, who dedicate all their lives to grasp the wisdoms of life. When the master is asked why don't they live in the city or a monastery instead of these isolated mountains without civilization, the master replies that they need a complete silence. This helps them not to get distracted by even a little of noise and fully concentrate on meditating and escalating on a path to eternal nirvana. Their every action, whether they are just sitting contemplating the nature, or they working and planting the seeds, all of this is some sort of practicing. If they do something, they try to direct their entire focus to this action. Having tried to do it in my daily, it turned out as extremely hard, if not to say impossible. Maybe that is why, it is understandable why they decided to live isolated in the middle of nowhere. I liked how the wise teachings of the master are accompanied with the views of nature throughout the film. I think this effect of the movie is to convey to the viewer the tight interconnectedness of the nature and a human. A person in order to live can find everything in nature. This is very hard to imagine to us, people who are so accustomed to the conveniences. This film is very thought provoking. It is amazing how people can live and be content with the basic needs fulfilled and nothing more. Having watched this calm, philosophical story, I understood how attached we are to the things and problems we have in everyday life, which basically are meaningless at the end. Sometimes it is very useful to watch films like this in order to have a different look on your daily life and some struggles that happen. And, as the monk said : Suffering and joy are the same thing. That is why we should try to never get attached too much to the things or people we have. I think the biggest advantage Buddhist hermits have over us, is their freedom. Freedom in its every form.