One Mind is a rare cinematic portrait of life inside one of China’s most austere and revered Zen communities. The monks at Zhenru Chan Monastery continue to uphold a strict monastic code established over 1400 years ago by the founding patriarchs of Zen in China. In harmony with the land that sustains them, the monks operate an organic farm, grow tea, and harvest bamboo to fuel their kitchen fires. At the heart of this community, a group of cloistered meditators sit in silence for 8 hours every day. Suggesting a Zen version of the critically acclaimed film Into Great Silence, One Mind offers an intimate glimpse into a thriving Buddhist monastery in modern China.

Director Edward A. Burger (Amongst White Clouds) has lived and studied with Buddhist communities throughout China for over 15 years, and is the first Western filmmaker to be granted such unprecedented access to the daily rituals and traditions practiced in this remote mountain monastery. 

Subjects: Asian Studies, Buddhist Studies, Comparative Religion, Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology


Edward A. Burger’s superb film One Mind is a documentary contemplation of the meditative life currently practiced at Zhenru (true suchness) Chan monastery in Jiangxi, China. The film aspires to be a Chan Buddhist film, not just about Chan practice at Zhenru monastery, but more importantly an open exploration into the state of mind that is cultivated and lived there experienced through the filmmaker’s own long-term participation in this meditative way of life. In this respect One Mind is a remarkable success and in addition provides justification for a review of a Buddhist film in the Journal of Buddhist Ethics. If ethics is concerned with the qualities of particular ways of being in the world then what we see in this film is Buddhist ethics at its best. 

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Additional Film Info:
Directors: Edward Burger
Length: 81 mins.
Genre: Documentary
Type: Color
Year: 2015
Language:Mandarin with English subtitles