Program Details

Celluloid Buddhas, Monks w/ Movie Cameras, and the True Delights of Zen Noir

with Susan Dever
July 1 / 1:00 PM - July 31 / 7:30 PM

Once again, this July Shambhalians and Friends (high school juniors and older) are warmly invited to join Cinematic Arts students at the University of New Mexico campus for day-long workshops in contemplative cinema.  With this year's combined UNM/ABQ Shambhala program, we are expanding the classroom walls to enrich our academic mission.  As Shambhalians invigorate space by virtue of our practice and study, so, too, Cinematic Artists enhance dharma practitioners’ knowledge and skills though our training in filmic analysis. 


Combined, we’ll enjoy a magical atmosphere where meditation instruction and sitting practice will join with talks and discussions, contemplations, arts exercises, dinner, and movies—all offered as a series of distinct, single-day workshops on Mondays and Wednesdays in July from 1:00 pm sharp to 7:30 pm.  Shambhala community participants may choose to attend one or more full days of the ten-day course.  In addition to regular activities, the final Monday and Wednesday will be dedicated to students presenting very short summations of their work.     


In class, we’ll screen the “poignant, often hilarious” films of a “cell-phone toting, soccer-obsessed monk who makes casting decisions with ancient divination systems.”  We’ll investigate the darkly comedic, noir-ish precincts of a zendo (and watch ourselves doing so).  We’ll ring popular culture’s objects to see how Scorsese sees the Dalai Lama, how Tibet constructs Shangri-La.  Analyzing documentaries about the art and politics of diasporic Tibetan contemplative cultures in the digital age, we’ll consider monks’ favorite movies and movie stars’ favorite monks.  We’ll think about what it means to pay attention to cinema that asks us to pay attention—and then, as we read, write, walk, make and critique dharma art together, we’ll practice paying attention. 


Again, meditation instruction and contemplative practice are course basics, and “Celluloid Buddhas” is open and appropriate for beginners and more advanced practitioners alike.


Tuition: $35.00 per day or $250.00 for eight to ten days. Checks payable to ABQ Shambhala Center.  Scholarships available. If interested in a scholarship please contact Susan Dever at   All proceeds will support class fieldtrips to the ABQ Shambhala Center.


Instructor: Susan Dever, newly minted Shambhala Training Director, long-in-the-tooth Associate Professor of Cinematic Arts, dedicated fan of movie-loving, crazy-wise, house-holder yogins, and devoted student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.



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