Saturday, June 1, 2013

Seeking Heartwood in America (video)

Seth Auberon, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly; Adam Eurich (
Eurich, LBC, June 1, 2013 (WQ)
Wisdom Quarterly catches up with filmmaker Adam Eurich, an American VJ (video journalist) chronicling the spread of the Buddha's message in the US, on VESAK. We are in the LBC, Long Beach, at California Bodhi Vihara, the only Buddhist temple from the Indian subcontinent in the golden state. There are monks of many nationalities in attendance. The abbot, with his doctorate from India, is from Bangladesh, a country which was once Buddhist and a part of Magadha, the part of ancient India where the Buddha lived and taught. Eurich is busy filming and explaining his vision.

"Seeking Heartwood" documentary preview (Adam Eurich/
“I’m going to get a camera,
and I’m going to go around the country,
and I’m going to find out how people express the Dharma.”
- Adam Eurich
That is my goal. So I took my savings, left my life behind, and set out to understand and film Buddhism in America.
Today there is a lot of interest in the Dharma (Dhamma); my KickStarter campaign raised $30,270. So I've been driving all over the country in my old Honda, going from Buddhist meditation center to Buddhist meditation center, monastery to monastery, and teacher to teacher.

Good thing I brought a camera or I'd be but a seeker of truth. I want to show it, too.
He recounts to Ted Meissner at, For two years my waking life has been about interacting with American Buddhists, studying ancient texts, meditating, and filming. It goes hand in hand with my dream world, which asks: What did the Buddha teach and, ultimately speaking, how relevant is it to modern life?
Buddhism in America is a living, breathing movement. It's growing. People are becoming independent in their understanding of these teachings and utilizing them to make a positive impact. We have a wealthy society with opportunities for happiness, but we still face frustration and malaise. This is just the problem the Buddha’s teachings address.

What I'm finding
Eurich, Abbot Karunananda, monks, LBC (WQ)
The people I visit are as curious as I am. I'm greeted lots of books and reading suggestions. I am taught wildly different meditation techniques. The biggest obstacles are confusing cultural traditions. 

After a two year road trip in search of the best Buddhist teachers in America, I have found only one thing: It is possible to make a film that transcends the confusion. 
Since the sixties there has been an upsurge in the use of Buddhist-based mindfulness practices. They are used in health care, psychology, and neuroscience.  In fact, there seems to now be more meditation taught in the medical field than in Buddhist meditation centers.

I've always wanted to make the world a better place. This film is the best way I’ve found to do just that. Small changes in the hearts and minds of the many, in the active levels of compassion and wisdom, can tip this world in a better direction. More on Eurich's journey:

Bhikkhu Bodhi, Buddhist Global Relief, and a Nuns' Ordination Ceremony

December Travels

What a month! I just visited the East Coast, going back and forth between Philadelphia, State College, New York, Boston...More

Pali, Pictures, and Post Production

Mid-February? This year is flying by. Right now I’m buried in a lengthy review of all the interviews...More
Wendy Cadge, Thai Wat, PA (
Theravada is the oldest branch of Buddhism, practiced widely in Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, and Laos. This fascinating ethnography opens a window onto two Theravadan communities in contemporary America, one outside Philadelphia composed largely of Thai immigrants and one outside Boston which consists mainly of white converts. Wendy Cadge gives a historical overview and considers its specific origins in the US.
Cadge (Swarthmore Univ.)
She then brings her findings to bear on issues of personal identity, immigration, cultural assimilation, and the nature of religion in everyday life. Her work is the first systematic comparison of the ways in which immigrant- and convert-Buddhists understand, practice, and adapt the Buddhist tradition in America. How do they meditate, live, and practice Buddhism? Creative and insightful, Heartwood helps us understand the rise of Buddhism in the West.
Celebrate VESAK with Indonesian Buddhists in America
( On June 8th, 2013 (3:00-6:00 pm), indigenous Indonesian Theravada Buddhists in Los Angeles celebrate the Buddha's birth, great enlightenment, and final nirvana -- the 2557th Vesakha Puja -- at Wat Buddhapanna (1157 Indian Hill Blvd., Pomona, CA 91767) with a Dharma discourse by Abbot Ven. Dr. Karunananda, Ph.D. Mahathera. All are welcome. Services followed by dinner, youth drama, choir, door prizes, and more.

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