Zen is a recent phenomenon in the west but is spreading so rapidly that it’s influence is touching all of us and now rivals the east in the numbers of enthusiasts.

Zen centers have sprung up all over America and Europe. There are more books with Zen in the title than any other belief or religion.

Yet, what do we know about its original practice? When Dogen, the founder of Soto Zen, brought Zen to Japan some 800 years ago it quickly took root. So we ask, How is it doing today? The Zen Mind will answer this question.

From the suburbs of Tokyo to remote mountains, travel with us across Japan to explore the practice of Zen. We will take you inside the modern Zen center and traditional Zen monastery to see both worlds in detail. With unrestricted access, our cameras put you inside the Zendo or meditation hall to experience Zazen — the practice of sitting. This is real Zen. This is the Zen Mind.

Featuring a superb music soundtrack by Japan’s top shakuhachi flute master, Christopher Yohmei.

In Japan the cloistered lifestyle of the zen monk may be in decline but zen meditation is everywhere from the cities to the countryside. The Zen Mind is full of contrasts as we travel across the width and breadth of Japan from the dogen sangha in Tokyo to remote mountain zen monasteries. We join the formal ceremonies of Kyoto’s largest zen temple and witness the rituals that survive a thousand years.

In the Kyoto countryside we visit a zen center that is carrying on the simple lifestyle that many temples have abandoned. This contrast heightens as we enter Japan’s largest soto zen monastery and film unrestricted as we join the monks in their everyday workplace, cooking, cleaning and in zazen practice. The goal of which is to rid the mind of all ego and self doubt and to reach self-realization and enlightenment or satori. Written and directed by Jon Braeley. Music by Christopher Yohmei and K. Uehara. Length: 60 mins.

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