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Film notes-Land of Bliss.doc

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Religious Studies
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Sherry Smith

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Film notes: “To the Land of Bliss” (2002, 45 min); filmed and produced by Wen-jie Qin “Focusing on the post-Mao revival of Buddhism in China, the filmmaker offers an intimate portrayal of the Chinese Pure Land Buddhist way of living and dying.” [Pure Land Buddhism is a sect of Mahayana Buddhism; popular in China, Japan and Korea.] In the film, an eminent monk has recently passed away, master Jue Chang. People in the community mourn the departure of their beloved teacher. His body is cremated and then his relics (bone fragments) are collected and taken up the sacred mountain, Emei (in Sichuan, south- west China). Film illustrates Pure Land Buddhist teachings as expressed by monks and nuns, and as understood by lay people. It also illustrates mortuary rituals for a Chinese Buddhist monk of stature. What is a good death? The Pure Land is the ultimate paradise of Amitabha Buddha Living beings go there for eternal happiness Metaphor for different realms, both hellish and good, located in your mind (not “real” places); ‘you can see the Pure Land if the mind is pure’ Land of Bliss – getting there depends on the strength of one’s karma To get to the Land of Bliss you need to practise diligently Comments from a Buddhist monk: ‘Plu
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