Journey Into Buddhism

The acclaimed <em>Yatra</em> Trilogy of director John Bush

April 23 - May 7, 2010
Asia Society and Museum
725 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021

Yatra is the Sanskrit word for pilgrimage or sacred journey. These visually stunning documentaries are cinematic pilgrimages to legendary places in Southeast Asia and Tibet, including the spiritual wonders of Laos, Thailand, Burma, Bali, Cambodia, Java and Central Tibet.

Journey into the living traditions and vanished civilizations of this vibrant part of the world and explore the universal ideals of wisdom, compassion, and inner peace at the very heart of these ancient Buddhist cultures.

The living presence of place is the primary focus of these three lyrical films, which are meditations themselves. Their deliberate pacing, unobtrusive narration, and inspired sounds are created to induce an inner journey while traveling to these legendary places.

The trilogy features an expansive soundtrack of classical Asian sacred music, leading world musicians and singers and an original harmonic chant score by David Hykes.

All films will be introduced by the director. Presented in conjunction with the Asia Society Museum exhibition Pilgrimage and Buddhist Art, which is open free of charge on the nights of the screenings (see dates below). 

Journey Into Buddhism is produced by Direct Pictures, New York and distributed by PBS.

Free admission to all films. Seating is limited, and tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets can be picked up after 6:00 pm on the night of each screening.


April 23, 6:45 pm
John Bush. 2004. 81 min. Digibeta

"Viewers will be awed by this luminous world, so rarely seen in film."—Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Dharma is the Sanskrit word for universal law. Essential to Buddhist understanding, dharma is the natural order, a living truth, and a force for awakening. Dharma River is a lyrical and exquisite sensory journey through Southeast Asia's great spiritual and cultural treasures. Visiting the vanished civilizations, legendary sites and living wisdom traditions of Laos, Thailand, and Burma, Dharma River powerfully conveys their continuing relevance for contemporary audiences.


April 30, 6:45 pm
Prajna Earth
John Bush. 2005. 85 min. Digibeta

"John Bush sets a benchmark for compassion and integrity in filmmaking."—National Gallery of Australia

Filmed entirely on location in Southeast Asia, the second film of the Yatra Trilogy is a stunning cinematic journey to the legendary temples of Angkor in Cambodia, the spiritual sites of Bali, and finally the marvel of Buddhist Borobudur in Java. Prajna Earth is a pilgrimage to sacred intersections where Buddhist and Hindu wisdom traditions merge with the animist worship of nature. Narration by Sharon Stone.


May 7, 6:45 pm
John Bush. 2006. 89 min. Digibeta

"I wish this film every success."
—The Dalai Lama

"Beautifully shot inside Tibet's most sacred sites ... the peaceful principles of the faith infuse every frame."—Variety

Vajra is the thunderbolt of awakening that cuts through delusion. It is the indestructible power of truth at the heart of Vajrayana Buddhism in Tibet. Filmed in Central Tibet, Vajra Sky is a cinematic pilgrimage offering a direct experience of some of the most revered temples, monasteries, and festivals still surviving.


All photos: John Bush/Direct Pictures

Related link:
Journey Into Buddhism/Direct Pictures website