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BuddhaFest Celebrates Five Years of Generosity

Apr 30, 2014 04:53AM

BuddhaFest presents its fifth anniversary festival of films, talks, meditation and music on June 19 to 22 in Rosslyn, Virginia. This year's theme is generosity and service, and speakers include Ram Dass, Roshi Joan Halifax, Tara Brach, Sharon Salzberg and many more.

The idea for BuddhaFest came about five years ago, after being asked to put together a benefit screening of a film about Tibetan nuns. From that small act of generosity came a festival that now fills several thousand seats every year, all in service of promoting spiritual awareness, compassion and peace in the world. So, it is very fitting that the fifth anniversary celebration centers on service and generosity.

When the Buddha taught, he always began with generosity. The cultivation of generosity is the beginning of spiritual awakening. It has tremendous force because it arises from an inner quality of letting go, which gives us profound freedom.

The cornerstone of BuddhaFest is the films. As film fans, we know that cinema can help us grow into a deeper understanding of what it means to be alive, by showing us the common threads that bind us all. Often, what is familiar in our own hearts can be seen through the camera in the faces of people, or the sweep of a landscape, or the simple objects that fill a room.

That’s especially true with conscious cinema. These types of films encourage our connection to a greater reality. They have just as important a role to play, in the understanding of our inner lives, as the storytellers of the past, who also sat in the darkness, perhaps by a fire, engaging listeners with their tales.

BuddhaFest was created to share and learn through cinematic stories, but it was also important for people to connect to their own stories, to be able to make sense of the dharma, or spiritual teachings, in contemporary terms. Because of this, BuddhaFest was expanded beyond the idea of a film festival to a broader, and as it turns out, unique concept, which includes spiritual teachers, meditation and music.

We’re happy to have hosted so many wise and often funny teachers who have helped us find our center in this messy and complex modern world. We love this quote from Salzberg, our teacher, who has been a part of each year's festival:

"The Buddha talked about cultivating the spirit of generosity, and he also talked about reflecting on the good things we’ve done and taking delight in them. We recall acts of generosity, not to bolster ego, but rather to acknowledge that—in this world that offers so many choices and possibilities—we cared enough about ourselves and others to choose to give rather than hold on."

We hope you'll join us for inspiring films, beautiful music and speakers who will share their wisdom and heart energy, as we explore mindfulness, compassion, and the profound effect that the power of generosity and service can have on our live

Gabriel Riera and Eric Forbis are the co-founders and co-directors of BuddhaFest.


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