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Journey into Buddhism, 01 Dharma River

This is the first of three yatra-s, or pilgrimages, made by John Bush in the early 2000s that I will be showing over the coming weeks.

Today’s film covers three countries in SE Asia, and the Buddhist cultures that are found in Thailand, Laos and Myanmar (here called Burma).

The film starts in Thailand looking at some of the finest Thai temples in Bangkok, and moving to Ayutthaya and then Chiang Mai; in Laos it covers Luang Prabang and Pak Ou; and in Myanmar they visit Yangon, Bagan and Sagaing.

Unlike the recently shown films of Alain Dayan the films by John Bush very much centre on the spiritual culture of the countries visited.

The films are beautifully shot and are very positive about the cultures visited, but I find in this film that many ideas are imported from outside to explain these Theravada cultures, which would have been better presented in their own terms.

That aside the film is a really inspiring visit to some of the treasures of the Buddhist cultures of SE Asia, and are worth watching for anyone to get a glimpse of some of the riches found there.

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