Exploring a 2,500 year old practice of freedom in the land of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
SUCCESS!!! Thanks for all of the generous support! Seeking Heartwood can now finish it's final phase of filming and enter post-production! The Kickstarter campaign is over, but if you'd like to continue to help the film get made, you can contribute at http://seekingheartwood.com/donate/
ABOUT THE FILM
At the end of 2010, I took my savings, left my life behind, and set out to understand and film a subject that has made an impression on me I’ve never been able to shake off: Buddhism.
I've been driving all over America in my old Honda, going from meditation center to meditation center, monastery to monastery, and teacher to teacher. For the past 21 months I've spent my waking life interacting with American Buddhists, studying the ancient texts, meditating, and filming. All to uncover the core of what the Buddha actually accomplished, how he taught, and ultimately, how relevant his teaching are to today's modern life.
Buddhism in America is a living, breathing movement of people becoming independent in their understanding of these teachings and utilizing them to make a positive impact in our society – a wealthy society with opportunities for happiness that seem only to be rivaled by its frustration and malaise. This is the very problem that the Buddha’s teachings address.
WHY I'M DOING THIS
Unfortunately, their curiosity, like mine, can be greeted by a confounding overabundance of books, wildly different meditation techniques, and confusing cultural traditions. After a 21 month road trip seeking out the best Buddhist teachers in America, I’ve found that it is exceedingly possible to make a film that transcends this confusion.
Additionally, the last couple of decades has seen an upsurge in the use of Buddhist-based mindfulness practices in our modern health care system, including the fields of psychology, medicine, and neuroscience. In fact, meditation is now taught more in the medical field than by Buddhist teachers!
There couldn't be a better time to provide a history and context for these teachings from lifetime practitioners and teachers; people neuropsychologist Dr. Rick Hanson refers to as, “Olympic athletes” of the mind.
I've always wanted to make this world a better place, and this film is the best way I’ve found for me to do just that. Small, wholesome changes in the minds of many can tip this world in a better direction.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
The project has been completely self-financed so far. Since I felt it was important to take the time to do this project carefully, I chose to exhaust all of my personal savings before requesting any financial support from the community at large.
I've done this on an absolute shoe string budget: no apartment, no hotels, just me on the road: camping, couch surfing, sleeping in my car, not eating enough, and working odd jobs – whatever it takes. I'm a one man, self-educated documentary crew. I do everything myself – research, interviewing, camera operation, audio, editing, marketing, you name it.
I basically have everything I need already: camera gear, lights, editing laptop, footage storage, and now a cheap apartment to start editing.
I need your help so I can focus everything I've learned into knocking out the last of my interviews over the next 5 months. I have at least two dozen interviews and shoots lined up in Texas, Minnesota, Ohio, New York, Florida, Alabama, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Missouri, Massachusettes, Washington DC, California, and one flight to France to interview someone who isn't American, yet has had one of the largest impacts on how Americans relate to Buddhism. I'll keep to the shoestring budget, weighing cheap flights versus driving, never wasting a penny, and maximizing my time with the help of your contributions to accomplish what I would be unable to do on my own.
From there, your rest of your funding will allow me to enter into a lengthy and expensive post production phase. It will take me a long time to put this together in a professional way. The more money I have, the higher quality it will be. I already have 350 hours of footage to go through and 5 more months of intensive filming to accomplish! Going through all that will be an arduous task of transcribing, cutting and cutting and cutting, then audio mixing, color correcting, mastering and finally distributing. But with your assistance, I'll be able to finalize the project by the end of 2013.
There is a lot more to do and Seeking Heartwood still needs your support. Even though the Kickstarter campaign has ended, you can still donate at: http://seekingheartwood.com/donate/
*note: For international backers, additional shipping costs for rewards may be necessary.
TO LEARN MORE AND SEE THE JOURNEY
Please visit my website!
There you'll find a blog of my travels, photography from all over the country.
Additionally, for those of you who are really ambitious, I recently did a one hour interview with the Secular Buddhist Podcast. I go into much more detail about my history and the project:
or check out the recent interview with the Long Beach Post:
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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A hearty thank you and a dollar of your contribution get's you a Buddha Badge custom made for the film by BuddhaBadges.com!Estimated delivery:
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A digital HD download of the film after a run through the film festival circuit and a Buddha Badge. Snag the film before anyone else!Estimated delivery:
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DVD copy of the film when it's commercially available! It will include all kinds of amazing special features not included in the digital download. And a Buddha Badge!Estimated delivery:
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A digital HD download of the film PLUS a professional 8"x12" print of a photograph of your choice from my travels across America. Check out the photo gallery on my website www.seekingheartwood.com (Most, but not all photos available for print)Estimated delivery:
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A DVD copy of the film once it's available PLUS a professional 8"x12" print of a photograph of your choice from my travels across America. Check out the photo gallery on my website www.seekingheartwood.com (Most, but not all photos available for print)Estimated delivery:
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A DVD copy of the film once it's available PLUS 3 professional prints (up to size 8"x12" each) of photographs of your choice from my travels across America. Check out the photo gallery on my website www.seekingheartwood.com (Most, but not all photos available for print)Estimated delivery:
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A DVD copy of the film PLUS: A White Meditating Buddha Statue from Bali – Volcanic Ash & Concrete Mix, 8.5” x 7.” This Japanese style Buddha, is similar to The Great Buddha of Kamakura, Japan and is one of the icons of Japan. This is Amida Buddha, seated in the lotus position with his hands forming the Dhyani Mudra, the gesture of meditation. Amida Buddha, is the focus of Pure Land Buddhism. Originating in China, this sect gained prominence in Japan in the 12th century and remains very popular today. The central teaching is that through devotion to Amida Buddha, expressed through mantras and sincerity of heart, one will go to the Pure Land or "Western Paradise" after death - a pleasant realm from which it is easy to attain nirvana. See the Donate section my website for a photo.Estimated delivery:
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A DVD copy of the film PLUS: A Hand Carved Buddha Statue from India, Abhaya (Fearlessness) Mudra Buddha – Wood 8” x 4.” Buddhist tradition has an interesting legend behind this mudra (hand symbol): Devadatta, a cousin of the Buddha, through jealousy caused a schism to be caused among the disciples of Buddha. As Devadatta's pride increased, he attempted to murder the Buddha. One of his schemes involved releasing a rampaging elephant into the Buddha's path. But as the elephant approached him, Buddha displayed the Abhaya mudra, which immediately calmed the animal. Accordingly, it indicates not only the appeasement of the senses, but also the absence of fear. See the Donate section my website for a photo.Estimated delivery:
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A DVD copy of the film PLUS: A limited edition, professional quality, hard copy photo book of select images highlighting the unique and diverse landscape of Buddhism in America.Estimated delivery:
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A DVD copy of the film PLUS: Hotei/Happy Red Buddha from Taiwan – Resin 9” x 3.5." Budai is traditionally depicted as a fat bald man wearing a robe and wearing or otherwise carrying prayer beads. He carries his few possessions in a cloth sack being poor but content. Often depicted entertaining or being followed by adoring children, his figure appears throughout Chinese culture as a representation of contentment. His image graces many temples, restaurants, amulets, and businesses. See the Donate section my website for a photo.Estimated delivery:
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A DVD copy of the film PLUS: A Buddha housed in a frame from Thailand – 23” x 15." This Buddha sits in the Abhaya Mudra (fearlessness). Thus this mudra symbolizes protection, peace, and the dispelling of fear. The Chinese characters scripted say “Buddha”. This piece is perfect to hang in your home or workplace. See the Donate section my website for a photo.Estimated delivery:
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A DVD copy of the film PLUS: A Medicine Buddha Thangka from Nepal – Canvas Scroll with Silk Brocade 18” x 13." ‘Medicine Master and King of Lapis Lazuli Light’, this is the Buddha of healing and medicine in Mahāyāna Buddhism. He is described as a doctor who cures suffering using the medicine of his teachings. Thangka painting is a uniquely Himalayan Art that attained classical levels in the Tibetan tradition between the 7th and 12th centuries. A Thangka is more than a work of art; it is an object of devotion, an aid to spiritual practice, and a source of blessings to those who meditate upon it. These incredible works of art are central to Himalayan culture. See the Donate section my website for a photo.Estimated delivery:
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A DVD copy of the film PLUS: A Nirvana Buddha from Bali – Wood Plaque, 14” x 31.5." Nirvāṇa is an ancient Sanskrit term used in Indian religions to describe the profound peace of mind that is acquired with moksha (liberation). Nirvana is the state of being free from suffering. The Nirvana Buddha represents the Buddha at his time of death and entering into Nirvana. When it was his time to pass on and enter Nirvana, he simply laid on his right side and passed on. The teaching behind this is that for one to die at peace, they must live at peace. It is a reminder for all of us to live every moment with peace and tranquility. See the Donate section my website for a photo.Estimated delivery:
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20 signed DVD copies of the film and the director will visit your local organization, company, or sangha with a copy of the film before it's theatrically released to provide a private, sneak preview screening and Q&A afterwards.Estimated delivery:
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A DVD copy of the film PLUS: An 100+ year old Antique Buddha, Dharmachakra (Wheel of Dharma) Mudra, Thailand – Bronze 22” x 14." Dharmachakra in Sanskrit means the 'Wheel of Dharma'. This mudra symbolizes one of the most important moments in the life of Buddha, the occasion when he preached to his companions the first sermon after his Enlightenment in the Deer Park at Sarnath. It thus denotes the setting into motion of the Wheel of the teaching of the Dharma. Significantly, in this mudra, the hands are held in front of the heart, symbolizing that these teachings are straight from the Buddha's heart. This significant donation signifies your contribution to continuing the teachings of the Buddha in a new land. See the Donate section my website for a photo.Estimated delivery:
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A DVD copy of the film PLUS: Your generous donation will be rewarded with an ASSOCIATE PRODUCER credit on the film and 2 tickets to the premiere of the film. You substantially helped Seeking Heartwood make it to the big screen and your contribution deserves to be recognized in all forms of distribution.Estimated delivery:
- (45 days)