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The Inner Path to Buddhism

The Inner Path to Buddhism
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The Buddhist festival, The Inner Path, was held for the first time in India as a celebration of Buddhism. It presented an array of films, exhibitions and performances based on the myriad streams of Buddhism.

At the opening ceremony at the Indian Council of Cultural Relations [ICCR], Professor Mudiyanse Dissanayake, a PhD in Visual and Performing Arts, and his team enthralled the audience with stunning renditions of various forms like the Bhakti Raas, the Panchturiya - the five kinds of drums [an offering of sound to Buddha], the Balinese Yagya and the Patni dance.

Although Buddhism originated in India, there haven't been too many Indian movies based on, or related to Buddhism. Through the initiative of NETPAC, a network for the promotion of Asian films, a platform has been created to spread Buddhism-based movies, not just in the country but also across the world.

There was also a photography exhibition alongside the movies and the performances, titled 'The Greatest Journey of Ideas: Spread of Buddhism' by photographer Binoy K Behl. It was the preview to a larger exhibition that will travel to London, Washington and Tokyo.

Paintings and sculptures by artistes like Pradeepta Kishore Das, Nityanand Sahu, Sanjeet Mahalik, Baldev Maharatha, Gagan Vij and Parameshwar Raju Poosapati were on display as well. All these artists have beautifully captured Buddhism in contemporary art.

The festival screened 22 feature documentaries and short films from Bhutan, Argentina, Korea, Sri Lanka, China and Japan. The movies were built upon the manifold aspects of Buddhism in relation to society.

Movies and shorts from India included Benoy Behl's Ladakh -A Cradle of Buddhism, Ramesh Sharma's Religious Linkages Between Bhutan and Ladakh, Nabendu Ghosh's Sandstorm Trishagni, Umesh Bisht's The Way Of The Buddha, and Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam's The Reincarnation of Khensur Rinpoche and Trials of Kelo Rinpoche.

There was also a special screening of the Korean movie Hal. Korean actor Cho Yong-Joo and director Yoon Yong-Jin were present at the festival.

A Buddhist scholar/practitioner delivered a talk on the different traditions and philosophy of Buddhism each day. Visitors included Yoon Yong-Jin, Sri Lankan filmstar Thumindu Dodantenna, and director Hector Kumarasiri.

There was also a panel discussion on Understanding Bodhisattvas, conducted by Professor Sashi Bala, a scholar and author of books on Buddhism. These sessions were conducted to give an insight into the true idea behind Bodhisattvas.

Bodhisattva is an ideal that stresses on the spiritual practices that lead to salvation. The idea has created lot of misconceptions owing to inaccurate depictions in art and literature, and the panel tried to clarify the real philosophy.

The event was supported by NETPAC, ICCR, Japan Foundation, the Buddhist Film Foundation, Exim Art, Instituto Cervantes, and the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.

If one is intrigued by Buddhism, and has questions that need answering, The Inner Path promises to show the way.
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