Friday, May 20, 2011

VEN. JIAN ZHEN (鑑真大和尚)- 2D ANIMATION Movie Review. To SEE is to BELIEVE.

Ven. Jian Zhen (鑑真大和尚) PRESS PREVIEW

You will find a soulful sprinkle of HEART and a hearty spread of SOUL in this Taiwanese 2D Animation film that took five years in the production.

It is also fondly pampered with some conspicuous 3D special effects to enhance creative authenticity.

Visually, you will be more than pleasantly impressed.

After all, “VEN. JIAN ZHEN” may not be any other movie.

The focus may rest firmly on the foundation of the BUDDHIST faith,

but it’s a real eye opener for non-Buddhists to appreciate -

and in appreciating, we can uncover a beautiful philosophy behind the teachings of BUDDHISM and how this religion spreads far and wide across vast continents.

You need not be a staunch believer to understand another’s culture and religious beliefs.

But a fact remains that all men are brothers and curiosity thus kills the cat, right?

Everything is simply a matter of choice. And the will to learn.

In Buddhism we are taught that each precious moment in an uncluttered life should be filled with profound peace and clarity

and not be undefiled by cultural conditionings and painful neurotic tendencies.

It is a tad disturbing to realize in Buddhist rites, that a family unit is built from past karmas. Positive karmic affinity from a past life results in a blissful family taking shape in this life. Past negative karmic affinity on the other hand brings about unhappiness and suffering in the present life.

We reap what we sow and in our past lives we’ve already written the script for what is currently happening in the present.

Buddhism is indeed about looking at and examining this thing called birth and death, sickness and old age, happiness and the impermanence of beauty.

It cajoles us to delve into our inner selves and seek the answers to our daily grind in this chaotic world of strife.

Taiwan Film Director ROGER HSIAO

“VEN. JIAN ZHEN” is directed by Roger Hsiao, produced by Tzu Chi Foundation (慈濟基金會), a Buddhist charitable organisation founded in Taiwan, and presented by humanitarian satellite channel Da Ai (literally, “Big Love”) Television (大愛衛星電視股份有限公司).

The film charts the repeated attempts of a real-life Buddhist Master, the Venerable Jian Zhen who perseveres in his beliefs and his persistent travels by ship to Japan to reform the Buddhist teaching there despite the initial set-backs.

In Nara, Japan, A.D. 763. In Toshodai Temple, Chinese Buddhist Master the Venerable Jian Zhen dies, aged 76, after preaching for nine years in Japan.

His Japanese disciple Si Tuo remembers how in 733, himself and another Japanese monk were sent to China to learn the Buddhist scriptures there

and to persuade Jian Zhen to come to Japan to develop and purify Buddhism in native Japan.

It is only after a span of 10 years that they finally got to meet Jian Zhen at Daming Temple in Yangzhou and convince him to travel to Japan.

Jian Zhen agrees and selects 17 other Chinese monks to accompany him on this journey fraught with perils.

The journey fails a total of four times and it is only in June 748, on their fifth attempt, did they manage to arrive at Zhenzhou.

There they are almost killed by fierce natives but are finally saved and welcomed by a Zhenzhou dignitary and given an old temple to renovate.

In 751 they set out for the sixth time via Yangzhou, where a Japanese ambassador, Fujiwara, finally smuggles them aboard a ship.

The mission is eventually and successfully accomplished in December 753 when Jian Zhen and his monks reach Japan.

At this final voyage of discovery, they are rewarded with their own temple in Nara.

Thus the “mission impossible” ends with a happy note.

The Venerable Jian Zhen had since made great contributions to the development of Buddhism in Japan, as well as, in culture, architecture, and Chinese medicine.

This animation feature is an inspiring tribute to the Venerable Jian Zhen.

It takes us through a spiritual journey by way of the colourful Buddhist inspired animation whilst basking in the background of a beautiful soothing musical score.

Take note that this movie was one of the top cinematic hits in Taiwan in 2010.

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