In 1945, Nichidatsu Fujii, a Japanese Buddhist monk, witnessed the devastation of Hiroshima and had a spiritual vision for world peace. Fujii's vision was to create peace shrines around the world to awaken a spirit of nonviolence. Since the 1950s, the monks and nuns of Nipponzan Myohoji, the Buddhist religious order founded by Fujii, have constructed over 70 of these shrines in six different countries. They are known as Peace Pagodas.
CALL OF THE PEACE PAGODA is an intimate portrait of the Japanese and American Buddhists who live at the first Peace Pagoda built in the United States, located in rural western Massachusetts. This documentary chronicles two months in the life of this unique spiritual community—a time in which they faced numerous tests of faith.
Working for social change in the tradition of Mahatma Ghandi, community members protest against nuclear weapons at a production facility in Connecticut. They walk 550 miles from Massachusetts to Washington, D.C., in a 30-day traveling prayer vigil for peace in Central America. The video also shows the daily life of the Peace Pagoda community, prayer rituals, and the building and inauguration of a new temple.
CALL OF THE PEACE PAGODA examines how one community integrates its spiritual values with a desire for a more just and peaceful world, providing a powerful example that speaks to people of all faiths.
"There is a prayer that runs like a single invisible thread through CALL OF THE PEACE PAGODA. It is a subtle, unwavering pulse that underlies the entire production. It is a prayer of peace, half chanted and half sung to the rhythm of Buddhist drums. Combining that chant with rich videography, interviews, and music, filmmaker Robbie Leppzer has made the film something of a universal prayer."
"CALL OF THE PEACE PAGODA is a vivid account of Japanese and American members of an age-old religious tradition grappling with contemporary problems of world peace. Rather than retreat to the beauty and serenity of the Pagoda, they venture into the world to protest against war and nuclear weapons. An excellent resource for classroom use."
"Not overly burdened with the philosophical and doctrinal, CALL OF THE PEACE PAGODA excellently captures the contemplation in action that characterizes the Nipponzan Myohoji movement. As the film shows, their practice is not simply another activism, but activism rooted in a spirituality. I am sure that the film will generate exciting classroom discussion on many different aspects of Buddhism, religion and politics, society, and more."
RECOMMENDED SUBJECT AREAS
Religion • Buddhism • Religions of Japan • Religions of the World • Religious Ethics • Philosophy of Religion • Religion and Politics • American Studies • Political Science • Sociology • Peace Studies • Philosophy • Politics & Government • US Foreign Policy • Politics of Peace and Conflict • Contemporary Social Movements • Social Change • Philosophy of Nonviolence • Documentary Film Studies
CALL OF THE PEACE PAGODA
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