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Produced by m&r Kreativ GmbH, with generous support by Heidelberg University
This documentary presents perspectives on Buddhism in the midst of Japan’s recovery from the March 11, 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disasters. Souls of Zen explores the role of Buddhism in care for the 3/11 bereaved and the dead based on attention to the everyday lives of Buddhist professionals in the disaster zone. Shot from March to December 2011 with a focus on Zen and Pure Land Buddhism, the film captures Buddhist temples and local communities in their struggles to rebuild. By contextualizing the triple disaster within recent rapid transformations in Buddhism and Japan´s enduring tradition of ancestor veneration, Souls of Zen reflects on the complex role of Buddhism in a society shaped by natural disasters, religious pluralism, and demographic change.