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Film notes-Land of Bliss.doc

by OneClass71064 , Winter 2012
1 Page
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Department
Religious Studies
Course Code
RELIGST 2M03
Professor
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:
‘Plug into the power of Amitabha Buddha by chanting his name; the Land of Bliss appears in our
mind; the mind is sentient beings; the mind is the Buddha, the Buddha is the mind
Outside of the mind there’s no Buddha to be found.
Becoming a Buddha is nothing but transforming the mind. When your mind reaches a high level
it can transform the Land of Suffering into the Land of Bliss. What place isn’t the Land of Bliss,
the Pure Land? What place isn’t nirvana? When the mind is defiled and divides things into this
and that the world becomes a defiled evil realm. When the mind is pure, the land is pure.’
Comments from a Buddhist nun:
‘When you chant the Buddha’s name you are actually chanting about yourself. When your mind
is pure and still, the Buddha in you appears; you are honouring the Buddha in your own nature
and not a Buddha outside. All phenomena, including the Land of Bliss, are productions of the
mind.
The Land of Bliss is a spiritual state that you have to experience… language cannot fully
describe it.’
For lay followers, the Land of Bliss is more of a place to “go” to
With the help of Amida Buddha and countless helping beings, including Buddhist masters who
have died, eventually all humans will reunite in the Land of Bliss.

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Description
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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