“Compassion and Wisdom” is a groundbreaking Buddhist film which combines interviews with many of the world’s greatest Buddhist teachers and scholars with rare and often never before seen footage of Buddhist architecture, painting and sculpture in India, Nepal, Japan and the United States. Produced and directed by James Zito, “Compassion and Wisdom” is a thought provoking documentary examining the ideal of the Bodhisattva which is central to the Buddhism of late India, China,Korea, Tibet and Japan as well as their continuation in American Buddhism today. The Bodhisattva is a being committed to helping all sentient beings reach relative and ultimate happiness. The film includes an indepth examination of the Bodhisattva path and its main components: compassion and wisdom. Also included is a discussion of the relevance of the Bodhisattva ideal to current issues such as pollution of the environment, stress, the care and treatment of the dying and other ways in which Buddhist ideas can have a bearing on modern issues. The film also profiles the great historical Bodhisattva figures such as Avalokiteshvara, Manjusri, Tara, and Jizo still revered and worshipped daily by Millions of Mahayana Buddhists throughout the world. Valuable to both beginners and experienced practitioners “Compassion and Wisdom” serves as a primer for ompassionate living and offers a valuable and beautiful expression of timeless Buddhist ideas.
“The careful editing weaves the themes so closely together and builds a beautiful collage of voices that reinforce and build on each other while continuously setting everything within the practical context of modern life. A masterpiece !” – Professor David Chappell: University of Hawaii.
“The film is excellent conceptually and technically. It deals with some extremely complex subjects in a way that makes them accessible to intelligent ‘newcomers’ and it’s beautiful” – Jean Smith: Author of 365 Zen and other Buddhist titles.
The following are interview participants in the documentary film Compassion and Wisdom: “The Bodhisattva’s Way of Life”:
His Holiness The Dalai Lama, winner of the 1989 Nobel Prize for Peace, is the living embodiment of Avalokitesvara, bodhisattva of infinite compassion. He is the head of state and political leader of the Tibetan people and their government in exile.
His Holiness Sakya Trizin is the supreme head of the Sakyapa order of Tibetan Buddhism, the 41st throne holder in an unbroken lineage stretching back to 1073 AD.
Robert Thurman, Ph.D is Je Tsongkhapa Professor and head of the Department of Religion at Columbia University. He is one of the founders of Tibet House.
His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche is one of the principal lineage holders of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism and a widely acclaimed author and teacher of Buddhism to the west.
Robert Aitken Roshi is the unofficial American patriarch of Zen and founder of the Daimond Sangha in Honolulu, Hawaii. Zen master, scholar, author and radical pacifist, he is a respected elder to Zen Buddhists across the United States.
John Daido Loori Roshi is abbot and spiritual leader of Zen Mountain Monastery in upstate New York. A dharma successor of Taizen Maezumi Roshi, he is the author of a number of books on Zen and founder of The Mountains and Rivers Order.
Donald S. Lopez, Jr. is professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Michigan. Universally recognized as one of the top Buddhist scholars in the world, he is the author of a number of books including The Heart Sutra Explained and Elaborations on Emptiness.
Lewis Lancaster, Ph.D is the chair of the Group in Buddhist Studies and professor of Oriental Languages at The University of California, Berkeley.
B. Alan Wallace, Ph.D is the newly appointed chair of Tibetan Buddhist Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. A monk for 14 years, he has interpreted and translated for internationally known Tibetan lamas including H.H. the Dalai Lama.
Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche is a lineage holder of both the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages. He is the abbot of Ka-Nying Shedrup Ling Monastery in Boudhnath, Nepal.
Khenpo Palden Sherab, one of the most qualified scholars of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, was in charge of the Nyingma Studies Department at The Central Institute of Tibetan Higher Studies in Varanasi, India for over 17 years.
Tsultrim Allione, a student of H.H. the Sixteenth Karmapa, is one of the first western women to be ordained as a nun in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. She is founder and director of Tara Mandala, a Buddhist center in Pagosa Springs, Colorado.
Ven. Robina Courtin has been a Tibetan Buddhist nun for over 17 years. She has been an editor at Wisdom Publications for 10 years and taught for 7 years under the auspices of The Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition.
Shohaku Okamura, a Japanese Zen roshi, is the official representative of the Soto Zen tradition in the United States.
Taigen Daniel Leighton is a Soto Zen priest in the lineage of Suzuki Roshi. He is the author of a new book on the tradition of the bodhisattva and co-author of a book on Zen master Dogen’s standards for the monastic order.
Mu Soeng is director of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. A monk in the Korean Zen tradition for 11 years, he is the author of Thousand Peaks: Korean Zen Tradition and Teachers and Heart Sutra: Ancient Buddhist Wisdom in the Light of Quantum Reality.
David W. Chappell, Ph.D is professor of Religion at the University of Hawaii, Manoa and one of the world’s leading experts on the Ti’en Ta’i Buddhist tradition
Jakusho Bill Kwong Roshi is abbot of Sonoma Mountain Zen Center and one of the Dharma heirs of Suzuki Roshi.
Peter Coyote Narrator is an internationally acclaimed actor also known for his deft skill in narration and voice overs. He is a long time student and practitioner of Zen Buddhism and lives in northern California where he is an active participant in local community issues.