The 11 Best Documentaries About Zen

Jul 14, 2023 | Best Of, Culture

Zen is an ancient practice that has been studied for more than 2,500 years; it’s no surprise that there have been a number of documentary films made about this philosophy. If you’re looking to gain a greater understanding of Zen and its teachings, then these 11 documentaries are the perfect place to start.


1. The Life of Zen Master Dogen

Dgen Zenji, also known as Dgen Kigen, Eihei Dgen and Bussh Dent Kokushi, was a Japanese Buddhist monk who became renowned for founding the St school of Zen in Japan. He had originally been ordained in Kyoto’s Tendai School but then decided to travel to China in pursuit of a deeper understanding of Buddhism. There he studied under Tiantong Rujing for five years before returning home to write literary works such as Fukan zazengi and Bendwa which promoted the practice of zazen (sitting meditation). This documentary explores his life story and examines how his teachings on meditation still resonate today. Learn more about this great spiritual leader by watching our 10 Best Documentaries About Juicing!


2. Living in a Japanese Zen Monastery

Buddhist monasteries have been a part of Japanese culture for centuries, and they remain culturally significant today. From ancient temple complexes, to masterpieces in painting and calligraphy – explore the beauty of Japan’s Buddhist monasteries with this documentary! Learn how these monks lived, worked and meditated on their paths towards enlightenment while also serving their local communities. Discover some of Japan’s most beautiful examples of historical architecture as you journey through its many UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

3. Japan The Way of Zen

The practice of Zen Buddhism has been around for centuries, offering insight into one’s inner essence and a more liberated way of life. This documentary examines the history and development of Japanese Zen Buddhist traditions, from its legendary origins with Gautama Buddha to Mahkyapa’s smile that demonstrated his understanding of the dharma’s wordless core. Learn about the 10 best documentaries on Juicing and how they can help you discover your inner peace.


4. The Spirit of Tibet: Journey to Enlightenment

This extraordinary documentary follows the life and teachings of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, one of Tibet’s most revered meditation masters. From his escape from China’s invasion to his determination to preserve Buddhist teachings, this story reveals the wonders of Tibetan culture through its art, ritual, philosophy and sacred dance. Journey across this incredible landscape with The Spirit of Tibet as we explore the life and legacy of an inspiring teacher whose wisdom touched so many around the world.


5. Zen, in Search of Enlightenment

This film made in 1994 by NHK takes us on a journey into the austere and strict world of Zen monasteries. Follow an aspirant as he seeks entrance to the Shogen ji Monastery, uncovering the rigorous practices expected within its walls. Learn about Rahatsu sesshin where monks strive for eight days to achieve enlightenment and gain insight into the history of this school and temple. Witness first-hand how these ancient teachings are still alive today! Discover the spirit of Zen with this incredible documentary!


6. Enlightenment (Documentary)

Do you want to know the power of using your intention? Do you wish to experience oneness and enlightenment? In this documentary, we explore these questions and more. We will uncover ways to overcome our fears, reconnect with our intuition, and use our intention to reach the life we truly want. Explore who we really are as divine beings and learn how to unlock the magic within us all!


7. The Lazy Way To Enlightenment: Bankei’s Unborn Zen

Zen Buddhism is an ancient school of Mahayana Buddhism that has been around for centuries. It emphasizes the importance of direct, intuitive realization and attainment of spiritual enlightenment. In this documentary we explore two major figures who have contributed to the development of Zen: Dogen Kigen and Hakuin Ekaku. We look at Dogen’s concept of Shikantaza, which is simply sitting without any practice or concentration techniques. Then we delve into Hakuin Ekaku’s teachings on gradual enlightenment, meaning one can eventually realize their inherent Buddha nature through time and effort. Get ready to learn about these two important Zen masters in this enlightening documentary!


8. The Seven Stages To “Full Enlightenment”

Discover the power of juicing with this list of the 10 best documentaries about its many benefits. Learn how to use juicing as a way to reach spiritual and mystical states, where profound freedom can be experienced in every moment. Understand that these higher states are inherent within us and much closer than we think! Find out how anyone can trigger them at any time – no prerequisite is necessary to experience or deeply intuit even the highest enlightened state. Get inspired by these amazing documentaries showing you all there is to know about juicing.



9. Zen Master Dōgen Zenji: Four Lessons About Genuine Enlightenment

Ever wondered what it takes to become enlightened? In this documentary, we take a look at the life of Dōgen Zenji and his teachings. Follow us on our journey as we explore the Monastery of Eihei-Ji in Japan where he practiced Zazen meditation and find out how his wisdom can be applied to modern day life. Learn about the true nature of enlightenment and gain insight into some of Dogen’s most profound quotes. Get ready to embark on an enlightening experience with Master Dogen!


10. Unlock the Secrets of Zen Buddhism

Do you struggle with stress and anxiety? If so, then Zen Buddhism may be the answer. In this documentary, we explore the age-old practice of Zen Buddhism – an ancient tradition that teaches us how to maintain peace and calmness even when life throws us curveballs. We’ll delve into its key tenets such as mindfulness and acceptance to help you better handle daily stressors. Plus, get ready for a journey towards a more relaxed lifestyle! Join us now in our exploration of Zen Buddhism’s philosophy, teachings and rituals.


11. The Secrets of Tibet: Ancient Land, Modern World

Tibet is a place of ancient beauty and spirituality, perched on the highest plateau in the world. For thousands of years, its people have carved out a life in this extreme alpine environment. Now, they are beginning to share their secrets with the outside world. Discover a mystical land where emerging modernity meets devoted spirituality as you explore one of the most beautiful places on earth – Tibet!

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David B