“A film like this has the potential of giving people a direct sense of what it’s like to go through intense spiritual practice. People may not understand the details of Buddhism, but they can still be directly touched and impacted by the experiences, insights, understandings, and openings of people who do deep spiritual practice. We’ve never followed a group of such people, heard their first-hand reports, and mapped their progress. So, a film like this is breaking wonderful new ground.”
Roger Walsh, MD, Ph.D.
Professor of psychiatry, philosophy, anthropology, and religious Studies
UC Irvine, author Essential Spirituality
“When I saw the trailer of Coleen’s film, I burst into tears. I was so moved by the idea of documenting the path of these practitioners’ meditation journey. We all suffer from the sense of separation and longing for community despite all our sophisticated technologies that apparently link us. To practice becoming aware of what is going on inside us, to reach deep and touch the depths of our amazing beings, beneath all the conditioning and to document the ups and downs of practice — and to know we don’t have to do this alone — we have the support of the other practitioners — and to share the process with the world — brilliant!
As a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and as a member of the committee that judges the docs, I have a good sense of what makes a fine film. This is going to be a really really fine film. One that makes a real impact on our collective consciousness. I encourage all who can to contribute. You will benefit from having participated in helping to transform our precious world. Isn’t that what we’re all here to do? Many blessings on all who do their bit to manifest this wonderful concept into reality.”
Ph. D. (honorary) and Winner of Academy Award, 1986
Why a movie about students in a meditation program?
In a culture that emphasizes material success and intellectual knowledge, inner awakening has never been more crucial or challenging. Many turn to spiritual practice seeking meaning and aspiring to cultivate an inward attention, a direct experience of interconnection with all of life, and an attitude of service. Yet for those who want to take on a spiritual practice, the intricate traditions of the East—designed for monks and full-time yogis—can be difficult to translate into our modern lifestyles.
This documentary explores how one such ancient system of wisdom teachings is being integrated into the lives of busy Westerners and how the feminine is influencing what has been a predominantly male tradition. It centers on an intensive, six-year training program in Vajrayana Buddhism taught by Lama Palden—a female Buddhist teacher who founded Sukhasiddhi Foundation, a dharma center in Fairfax, California.
The film is following a group of students enrolled in this meditation program over the entire span of their involvement as they attempt to integrate these profound teachings and practices into their daily lives. We’ll watch as they face inner and outer obstacles, as well as witness how their experiences and awakenings shape their lives, worldviews, and future intentions.
Plan and Funding
Our current goal is to raise $75k to follow the students as they complete the first two year program and create a short film to submit to film festivals in 2015. In addition, we will archive footage for a feature length film at the end of the full program 2019. See our donation page to learn more.
So far we have completed initial filming of the students during their first months of the program (see trailer and preview videos) and captured footage of them on pilgrimage to Bhutan in November 2013. The program began in September 2012.