Monday, May 20, 2019

"Enlightenment Guaranteed" (Zen comedy)

FestivalMedia; Ananda (Dharma Meditation Initiative), Ashley Wells (ed.), Wisdom Quarterly
Watch the 20 anniversary screening in Beverly Hills at BuddhaFest LA, June 1, 2019.
Selfish Sex and Inflated Egos: I'm pretty sure you came. Night! - I'm pretty sure I didn't.

Your move (
Enlightenment Guaranteed is a 2000 German film (Erleuchtung garantiert) directed by Doris Dörrie about two brothers on a spiritual quest.

Uwe and Gustav travel to Buddhist Japan to sort out the mess of their lives. Their plan is to visit the Sojiji Zen Monastery in Monzen, near Tokyo.

On the way, in a rather literal Buddhist moment, they lose their belongings. When they finally make it to the Buddhist monastery, they find that even there, Buddhist enlightenment can be elusive.
It's easy to say FTW. It's hard to get out.
The first of four lessons the Buddha called the Four Noble Truths ("noble" because they are ennobling = enlightening) is that "Life is disappointing."

At the beginning of the film, we see the troubled lives of the two brothers. Each is experiencing a mid-life crisis of sorts that will ultimately bring the brothers closer together.

With four young children, Uwe and his wife Petra have their plates full. Lacking compassion for each other's burdens, they constantly bicker.

After a stressful morning of playing with the children (and waking their infant daughter, who had kept Petra up most of the night), Uwe is a jerk to his wife.

While he is at work as a real estate agent, Petra packs up and moves out. Uwe cries when he finds the goodbye note.

Bring a book for the trip.
Meanwhile, Gustav is suffering troubles of his own. Unlike his brother, who is the type to smoke a cigarette after going jogging, Gustav is a Zen Buddhist enthusiast.

His burdens are internal: He is afraid of making mistakes. He is afraid of fear itself. He has been planning a trip to a Zen monastery to find himself.

Uwe, in a great state of distress and drunk, asks his brother to accompany him. After much hesitation, Gustav buys his brother a ticket and the adventure really begins.

This film is almost a sequel to Men..., Dörrie's landmark film starring the same actors (as different characters), with a similar existential storyline. More Now available on DVD (

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