Act Normal (documentary about a monk)

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Act Normal (documentary about a monk)

Postby Nibbida » Tue Jan 25, 2011 4:10 pm

An interesting looking documentary:

Robert T. Edison was born and raised in Nottingham, England. When he was fourteen years old he began to practice Buddhism. At eighteen he became a monk and went to Thailand where, for a decade, he spent his time in monasteries. He became the first Buddhist monk in Iceland when he moved there in 1994 and founded a Buddhist sect. Five years later Robert decided to “disrobe” and get married. After sixteen years of celibacy Robert had to deal with being “normal” – getting employment, paying his bills and dealing with the needs of his partner. After four years in “the real world” Robert travelled back to Thailand to become a monk again. Act Normal was filmed from 1994 to 2006 and is a unique exploration of one man’s twelve-year search for some kind of love.


Trailers:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQDsM_tOTn0&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkDBFJEUz4w&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Efr4HM6djYs&feature=related


Has anyone seen it?

[EDIT: Link to illegal download removed - Retro.]
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Re: Act Normal (documentary about a monk)

Postby Jason » Tue Jan 25, 2011 4:27 pm

Nibbida wrote:An interesting looking documentary:

Robert T. Edison was born and raised in Nottingham, England. When he was fourteen years old he began to practice Buddhism. At eighteen he became a monk and went to Thailand where, for a decade, he spent his time in monasteries. He became the first Buddhist monk in Iceland when he moved there in 1994 and founded a Buddhist sect. Five years later Robert decided to “disrobe” and get married. After sixteen years of celibacy Robert had to deal with being “normal” – getting employment, paying his bills and dealing with the needs of his partner. After four years in “the real world” Robert travelled back to Thailand to become a monk again. Act Normal was filmed from 1994 to 2006 and is a unique exploration of one man’s twelve-year search for some kind of love.


Trailers:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQDsM_tOTn0&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkDBFJEUz4w&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Efr4HM6djYs&feature=related


Has anyone seen it?


Yes. A friend of mine from Wat Buddhanusorn let me borrow it a few years back.

The film itself was begun when a monk (our very own Dhammanando) travelled from Thailand to Iceland, and was asked by the Buddhist community there to establish a temple. This particular individual had the distinction of being the only Buddhist monk to live and work in Iceland, and as such, caught the attention of director Olaf de Fleur and producer Ragnar Santos. The film was made over a ten year period, and it documents his journey through life—a journey that's at times humorous and lighthearted, and at others lonely and painful. I highly recommend it.
Last edited by retrofuturist on Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Quoted link to illegal download removed
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Re: Act Normal (documentary about a monk)

Postby andre9999 » Tue Jan 25, 2011 4:42 pm

Of all the ways to encode a video, they make it a Flash file. That's highly incompatible with my Apple fanboyism.
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Re: Act Normal (documentary about a monk)

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Jan 25, 2011 4:49 pm

Yes, that is 'our' very own Bhante Dhammanando. That reminds me, I needed to update the 'Act Normal' Dhamma Wiki page from "is a regular participant" to "was a regular participant at Dhamma Wheel."

http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Act_Normal

His bio:

http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?tit ... %2C_Bhante
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Re: Act Normal (documentary about a monk)

Postby Alexei » Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:51 pm

Nibbida wrote:Has anyone seen it?

Yes, the film made a quite melancholic impression on me.

It may be interesting for those planning to ordain.
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Re: Act Normal (documentary about a monk)

Postby Strive » Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:36 pm

Thanks for the video, I liked the film except for the naked sharks.
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Dhamma practised well brings happiness;
Truth is really the sweetest of tastes;
One living by wisdom they say lives best."--Bhikkhu Bodhi's Samyutta Nikaya, Sagathavagga verse 853
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Re: Act Normal (documentary about a monk)

Postby Euclid » Tue Jan 25, 2011 10:07 pm

Wow, that's about Ven. Dhammanando? Small world!
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Re: Act Normal (documentary about a monk)

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:28 pm

Strive wrote:I liked the film except for the naked sharks.


I wasn't aware sharks wore clothes. :tongue:

I assume 'sharks' has another meaning?

It was kind of sad when the marriage did not work out, but it was all for the gain of the Sangha, when he returned to being a bhikkhu.
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Re: Act Normal (documentary about a monk)

Postby Modus.Ponens » Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:45 am

Inspiring movie. Makes me rethink my option of being a lay man. It was great to know Ven. Dhammanando more closely, a person we only know through the posts he makes.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: Act Normal (documentary about a monk)

Postby Strive » Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:17 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
Strive wrote:I liked the film except for the naked sharks.


I wasn't aware sharks wore clothes. :tongue:

I assume 'sharks' has another meaning?

It was kind of sad when the marriage did not work out, but it was all for the gain of the Sangha, when he returned to being a bhikkhu.


I forgot what sutta it was in the samyutta Nikaya by Bhikkhu Bodhi but I think it was the one where buddha warns the monks of 5 things a householder should watch out for, then he tell the monks that just like the householder should watch out for those 5 things a bhikkhu should watch out for these 5 things, waves, whirlpools, sharks and demons. Sharks meaning women. Ever since then I refer to woman as sharks because I'm afraid of sharks :jumping:
"Faith is here a man's best treasure;
Dhamma practised well brings happiness;
Truth is really the sweetest of tastes;
One living by wisdom they say lives best."--Bhikkhu Bodhi's Samyutta Nikaya, Sagathavagga verse 853
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Re: Act Normal (documentary about a monk)

Postby alan » Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:20 am

I don't get it. Why is this interesting?
He laughs a lot, which is kind of charming. But what is the overall point?
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Re: Act Normal (documentary about a monk)

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:24 am

Greetings,

What I like about this documentary is that it shows how much more comfortable venerable Dhammanando is in robes, and it makes me happy that the Buddhist holy life is available to those who wish to pursue it.

Apparently there was a lot more footage, much of it 'deeper' than what you see in the doco, but most of that stuff lay on the editing room floor... I guess that just wasn't the story the director wanted to tell.

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Re: Act Normal (documentary about a monk)

Postby m0rl0ck » Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:41 am

Thanks for posting this. I found it inspiring. :)
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
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Re: Act Normal (documentary about a monk)

Postby cooran » Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:31 am

I forgot what sutta it was in the samyutta Nikaya by Bhikkhu Bodhi but I think it was the one where buddha warns the monks of 5 things a householder should watch out for, then he tell the monks that just like the householder should watch out for those 5 things a bhikkhu should watch out for these 5 things, waves, whirlpools, sharks and demons. Sharks meaning women. Ever since then I refer to woman as sharks because I'm afraid of sharks :jumping:


Bhikkhu Bodhi mentions it when discussing various suttas. He says, 'This discourse was given at Catuma to the disciples of the Venerable Sariputta and the Venerable Maha Moggallana, who came with five hundred bhikkhus to see the Buddha. The five hundred bhikkhus made a lot of noise while settling down. The Buddha refused to see them at first, but later relented and taught them the dangers in the life of a bhikkhu. Just as there are dangers and hazards in a sea like stormy waves, crocodiles, whirlpools, and sharks, so also there are dangers against which the bhikkhu must be always on guard, namely, ill will against those who instruct them and guide them; dissatisfaction with training rules such as those concerning taking of meals or dealing with womenfolk; and pleasures of senses.''

The actual sutta (excerpt below) does not mention sharks, but rather refers to alligators. Catuma Sutta

..... Bhikkhus, what is the fear for alligators? . Bhikkhus, a certain son of a clansman out of faith goes forth from a household. He becomes a homeless thinking I'm overcome by birth, decay, death, grief, lament, unpleasantness, displeasure and distress. There are only a few who could declare the complete ending of this unpleasantness. He gone forth thus, putting on robes in the morning, taking bowl and robes goes the alms round, in the village or hamlet controlled in body and speech, mindfulness not established and mental faculties not protected. In the village he sees a woman not well covered and dressed. Seeing her in that manner, greed assails his mind and with a mind assailed by greed he gives up robes and becomes a layman. He gives up robes and becomes a layman out of fear for alligaters. Bhikkhus, fear for alligators is a synonymn for women.
http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pit ... ma-e1.html

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Re: Act Normal (documentary about a monk)

Postby Nibbida » Wed Jan 26, 2011 4:02 pm

Whoops. I didn't realize that last link was an illegal download site. I only paid attention to the description of the film & the humorous pictures of the guys with exposed butt cracks sitting next to him. Sorry for the oversight.

I thought he looked awfully familiar. I didn't make the connection with Ven. Dhammanando.

Here's another clip (a legal one) of the making of the film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRhog7Y3Ivw

I haven't seen the film yet, but I like the fact that it shows him as a real person, with his own struggles, successes, choices, etc. From a layperson's point of view, it's too easy to see monastics as perfect Dhamma robots. Despite attainments in their practice and dedication to service, we're all real people. It's encouraging.

I remember reading something about Jack Kornfield about the difficulties he had adjusting back to the layperson's life.
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Re: Act Normal (documentary about a monk)

Postby Strive » Wed Jan 26, 2011 4:11 pm

cooran wrote:
I forgot what sutta it was in the samyutta Nikaya by Bhikkhu Bodhi but I think it was the one where buddha warns the monks of 5 things a householder should watch out for, then he tell the monks that just like the householder should watch out for those 5 things a bhikkhu should watch out for these 5 things, waves, whirlpools, sharks and demons. Sharks meaning women. Ever since then I refer to woman as sharks because I'm afraid of sharks :jumping:


Bhikkhu Bodhi mentions it when discussing various suttas. He says, 'This discourse was given at Catuma to the disciples of the Venerable Sariputta and the Venerable Maha Moggallana, who came with five hundred bhikkhus to see the Buddha. The five hundred bhikkhus made a lot of noise while settling down. The Buddha refused to see them at first, but later relented and taught them the dangers in the life of a bhikkhu. Just as there are dangers and hazards in a sea like stormy waves, crocodiles, whirlpools, and sharks, so also there are dangers against which the bhikkhu must be always on guard, namely, ill will against those who instruct them and guide them; dissatisfaction with training rules such as those concerning taking of meals or dealing with womenfolk; and pleasures of senses.''

The actual sutta (excerpt below) does not mention sharks, but rather refers to alligators. Catuma Sutta

..... Bhikkhus, what is the fear for alligators? . Bhikkhus, a certain son of a clansman out of faith goes forth from a household. He becomes a homeless thinking I'm overcome by birth, decay, death, grief, lament, unpleasantness, displeasure and distress. There are only a few who could declare the complete ending of this unpleasantness. He gone forth thus, putting on robes in the morning, taking bowl and robes goes the alms round, in the village or hamlet controlled in body and speech, mindfulness not established and mental faculties not protected. In the village he sees a woman not well covered and dressed. Seeing her in that manner, greed assails his mind and with a mind assailed by greed he gives up robes and becomes a layman. He gives up robes and becomes a layman out of fear for alligaters. Bhikkhus, fear for alligators is a synonymn for women.
http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pit ... ma-e1.html

with metta
Chris


Thanks Chris for clearing this up. I might be wrong about what I said, I still can't find that discourse so I'll forget about that. But I did find in Bhikkhu Bodhi's Samyutta Nikaya in the fourth book 228 on page 1226, the Ocean 1 discourse.

"Bhikkhus, the uninstructed worlding speaks of "the ocean, the ocean" But that is not the ocean in the noble one's discipline; that is only a great mass of water, a great expanse of water.
"The eye, bhikkhus, is the ocean for a person; it's current consists of forms. One who withstands that current consisting of forms is said to have crossed the ocean of the eye with its waves, whirlpools, sharks, and demons. Crossed over, gone beyond, the brahmin stands on high ground."

Then in the commentary he says "waves" are anger and despair; "whirlpools" are the five cords of sensual pleasure; "sharks and demons" are women"
:anjali:
"Faith is here a man's best treasure;
Dhamma practised well brings happiness;
Truth is really the sweetest of tastes;
One living by wisdom they say lives best."--Bhikkhu Bodhi's Samyutta Nikaya, Sagathavagga verse 853
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