Thursday, July 29, 2010

Herzog: The Wheel of Time

Werner Herzog's The Wheel of Time (2003, 2005 DVD): mesmerizing, compelling, mind-blowingly fascinating. Herzog and his film crew, allowed to roam freely among hundreds of thousands of Buddhist pilgrims in India, Tibet and Austria, shows people performing a variety of activities, and even though some practices may seem mysterious to outsiders, just about anyone could relate to them on some level.

A good deal of the film centers around the 2002 gathering at Bodh Gaya, India, where Siddhārtha Gautama attained Enlightenment and became the Buddha circa 2,500 years ago. Another procession is shown in the area near Mount Kailash, Tibet. And yet another, shorter ceremony (a continuation of the first part), is shown in Austria.

One of the strange twists in the history of Buddhism: in India, where Buddhism began, its followers only represent a tiny fraction of the overall population, yet throughout much of the rest of Asia, it has become the majority's way of life. By some estimates, even the USA now has almost as many Buddhists as India.

A little on the Kalachakra sand mandala and the 14th Dalai Lama's appearances in The Wheel of Time in the next post.

Today's Rune: Flow.  


Charles Gramlich said...

although Buddhism isn't a typical religion in the sense of having a God, I still think it fits the general characteristics of a religion. I have only one friend who is Buddhist.

Erik Donald France said...

Right on. I know a handful, mostly Asian folks.

Lana Gramlich said...

That DVD sounds really interesting.