ONE MIND is an immersive cinematic meditation on life within one of modern China's most austere and respected Zen monastic communities. 

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“Incredible footage. To be any closer, you’d have to shave your head.”   

 - Bill Porter (Red Pine)

If duality in understanding does not arise, then all the teachings will appear before them. And it is then Bodhisattvas attain perfect enlightenment, know that all things are of one mind essence and achieve this Wisdom Body, enlightened of themselves.
— The Flower Garland Sutra- Chapter 16

ONE MIND is a rare cinematic portrait of life inside one of modern China’s most austere and revered Zen Monastic communities. Surviving the repression of the Mao era, 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. Edward A. Burger (Amongst White Clouds) has lived and studied with Zen 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. In harmony with the land that sustains them, the monks at Zhenru Monastery operate an organic farm, grow tea, and harvest bamboo to fuel their kitchen fires; while at the heart of this community, a group of cloistered meditators sit in silence for 8 hours every day.

But more than a portrait of life within this monastic community, ONE MIND is an experiment in Buddhist filmmaking. A markedly quiet and contemplative film, Burger has set forth to craft a documentary that is not ‘about’ Buddhism, but rather a ‘Buddhist film’. Taking inspiration from traditional Zen stories and lessons told to him by elder monks and teachers at Zhenru monastery, each chapter of the film explores the trials and challenges we all must face when we set forth to become wiser, kinder human beings. In ONE MIND we learn that this journey begins when we turn our gaze inward. That no matter how far we have traveled and how many mountains and valleys we have crossed, the true adventure awaits us within the landscapes of our own mind.


Filmed in Jiangxi Province, China / A film by Edward A. Burger / 78-minute feature-length documentary / 24p HD widescreen / Mandarin with English subtitles 

To make ONE MIND the immersive contemplative experience I envisioned, we knew the sound and color design would be very important elements in the film. Drawn by his wildlife soundscape recordings and work as sound-designer on Werner Herzog’s Encounters at the End of the World, I contacted Douglas Quin, who coordinated an amazing team at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Steven Geer (far left) joined us as a graduate intern and John Kohlbrenner (far right) as our technical advisor and colorist. 

Douglas Quin at dqmedia

Jason Kohlbrenner at This Blue Hippo