Movie fans and spiritual seekers, unite! In Cinema Nirvana, veteran meditation teacher and film critic Dean Sluyter illuminates the hidden enlightenment teachings of Casablanca, Jaws, The Graduate, The Godfather, Memento, Easy Rider, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Big Sleep, Fistful of Dollars, and half a dozen more classic films, revealing spiritual wisdom in everything from 007's secret weapons to the colors of the Seven Dwarfs' eyes.
So grab your popcorn, sit back, and prepare to have your mind opened. Cinema Nirvana is a funny but wise, practical but wildly entertaining guide to finding enlightenment...one movie at a time.
©2005 Dean Sluyter (P)2014 Dean Sluyter
"Equal parts inspiring, quirky, fascinating, and fun. Cinema Nirvana will make you look at film and faith in a new light." (Dallas Morning News)
"If you spliced together DNA from Quentin Tarantino and the Dalai Lama, you'd get Dean Sluyter and he'd write this amazing book." (Michael Gelb, author of How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci)
"Sluyter is the movie guru I have longed for. He mines deep spiritual wisdom from classic films with tremendous humor and grace. Virtually every page contains jaw-dropping insights and laugh-out-loud surprises." (Lama John Makransky, Prof. of Buddhism and Comparative Theology, Boston College)
Terrific, articulate talks by the author himself, probing into deeper meaning in many well known films. There is much depth and richness of detail, like many films. Upon repeat viewings, or in this case listening, one picks up additional nuance which was missed the first time around.
The tone, the pace and the very clear pronunciation.
I've attended some of the author's talks over the years. They are always interesting, enriching amd thought provoking. He has a very broad and experiential understanding of many religious and spiritual traditions, which he brings to this collection of intriguing essays.
Great listen! Gave me wise & witty insight into the connection between my favorite cinema classics and Buddhist philosophy. Provided a new lens to view the characters and themes I've loved, allowing me to see beyond the images to the gems of wisdom hidden in these films. Roll over Elvis -- I'll never look at Jailhouse Rock the same way again !!
I've read the book multiple times now for personal enjoyment and for it's usefulness in the high school class I teach. So yes, I and my students will be listening to the audio version to hear Dean's POV on these films. I think that this will help the students to understand these enlightenment lessons more by hearing his voice rather than just reading the words on the page. It will give the lessons life.
I've not read another book that compares to Cinema Nirvana -- that is why I picked it up for the first time to read it! This book adds to my understanding of different teachings from various religious traditions, some of which only come from textbooks, professors, and the news.
The shark as he is moving through the water to John Williams' theme of Jaws.
My favorite chapter is Independence Day -- sometimes you have to have experiences of dumbness to allow for the wisdom to come in. Rather than keep waiting for an experience of "enlightenment" to happen, in which case one may keep on waiting, realize -- this is it, this is it, this is it. Recognize that this moment is it and be fully content with it. How useful this is when we are bombarded with messages of instant gratification on a regular basis.
I loved the premise of the whole book, that through popular media such as movies, we can find guidance to forge our own paths towards personal freedom and true happiness. It makes us value the magical potential of everyday life.
The "Zen of Motorcycle Maintenance" by Robert Persig jumps to mind. It also used a very mundane activity (servicing motorcycles) to extract pearls of wisdom. "Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories that Heal" by Rachel Naomi Remen is another volume written towards this end.
Dean's performance gave me a sense of calm centeredness even in the midst of the turmoil of our times. His voice is resonant, soothing, and carries a sense of authority. It made me trust what I was being told.
Yes, throughout, I found myself percolating with delight. The stories are well-chosen and provocative not only for the drama of the tale––everybody loves a good yarn––but also in the depth of substance that fed my soul.
I greatly appreciated the author's broad reach from high to popular culture. He is as comfortable quoting from the "Godfather" as from the Buddha, from Jimmy Cliff to Trungpa.
Outstanding audiobook. The enlightenment lessons that Dean shares with his audience are fun, simple, and profound. The clarity of his words are brought to life by the warmth and wit in his voice. I have spent long commutes to and from work listening, laughing, remembering, and waking up. Many thanks, Dean.
You don't have to be a hardcore cinephile or a devout Buddhist to enjoy "Cinema Nirvana." In fact, I think it's best appreciated as an entry point to both disciplines.
Sluyter has gift for distilling complicated ideas into a clear and refreshing message, a thirst-quenching elixir for the spiritually parched. If you are already familiar with other Buddhist and eastern philosophy texts, his interpretations of classic films offer a unique alternative way into those teachings. And if you're a the kind of movie buff who doesn't mind a double header, but isn't quite so sure about all that spirituality jazz, this book does a marvelous job of relating the heady matters of faith to something a little more familiar.
The fact that the author reads his own book—with clear and enthusiastic enunciations— gives the text added life that is missing from many other audiobooks I have tried.
All in all, highly recommended, whether for your morning commute, a stroll through town, or your next airline flight. Give it a whirl.
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