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It’s not a place for snarkiness, that’s clear—so Arts Desk readers who cringe when the earnestness heads into the red might not want to stop by. But this year’s Buddhafest, which opens tonight at Artisphere, might be an opportunity to shed your usual work-harder, get-farther stress.
It’s a packed four-day slate of films and talks that focus on the elusive act of being fully in the present, Buddhist-style. You don’t have to know the difference between Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism to show up, though; these films were obviously hand-picked to appeal to a broad audience.
For instance, I Am, the opening night’s offering, was created by the director of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and documents his search for meaning in Hollywood and beyond. Another film, Crazy Wisdom, depicts the unpredictable antics of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist who first helped bring Buddhism and meditation to the west in the 1960s.
You might think of it as Silverdocs on chamomile tea, except that it also includes a bunch of inspiring speakers and even some meditation exercises to try right there at Artisphere. Speakers include local notables like Hugh Byrne (chosen by this paper as “Best Contender for Guru Status” in 2011) and Tara Brach, as well as out-of-towners like nationally-known meditation teacher and author Sharon Salzberg.
Ticket prices vary depending on the package, but most standalone films are $12-15.