ALMS: a Chan Buddhist film

A fimmaker, Ted Burger, has made a new short film focusing on Buddhism in China. You may know him as the director of “Amongst White Clouds,” which was a film about Chinese hermits that gained some following a few years back. Ted wrote to some people recently about the film. He said:

"It's the first of an on-going series of academic short films I'm producing on Buddhist life in China. It's called ALMS, and it is a portrait of life within a Chan Buddhist monastery, seen from the perspective of the kitchen! The film deals directly with gardening, cooking and ritual surrounding meals in a Chan community, while also serving as general introduction to Chan monastic life."

The website for it is From the blurb on the web site:

ALMS is a cinematic tour through a remote mountain Chan/Zen Buddhist monastery in Southern China. Student audiences are guided by the community’s Head Chef (典坐 dianzuo) as he explains the traditional cultivation, distribution and ritual offering of food in this traditional Buddhist community. We follow the gathering of local fuels and farmed vegetables, and witness how living members of this community work in harmony with elements of their physical environment to provide the supportive infrastructure surrounding the Meditation Hall (禅堂 Zendo/Chantang), where a group of cloistered monks devote themselves to meditation practice."

The film is short, 24 minutes long, and you can watch the trailer here or download it as an mp4 file. I’ve embedded it below for those that read my blog on the website and have quicktime.