• lisa kay

    I love the trailer — its so cool. Adding a Buddhist perspective to a British legend … how incredible is that? To be frank I find your blog to be very cynical which is not what religion should be about at all. “Some who calls himself …” is inappropriate — what right have you to make fun of someone’s name? “Claims to be the first…” technically it is coz no other superhero film has been shot in 12 countries like this one. You probably are a right wing Christian who hates the Buddhist context of this film so you should just join Sean Hannity and Bill O at Fox news. And the website you linked to totally rocks!!! Great features and a lot of great info. Am very impressed and look forward to seeing the film =D PS: There are so many films that only spread bad values .. if a film tries to spread a good spiritual message and still be exciting in a cool way that can appeal to the box office — you should encourage them. Its so sad that every blog today .. even religious ones have to adopt a cynical tone. The liberal media encourages gangsta rap and promiscuity while religious blogs cannot even give props to a religious themed films. Sad.

  • Daniel Burke

    Thanks, Lisa. I have no idea how shooting a film in 12 countries techincally makes Zen Duke the first Buddhist superhero. Furthermore, I would very much like to see more Buddhist content in the trailer, not less. All I saw in the trailier was some guy beating people up and getting down with some girl. When I think of Buddhism, those are not the first things that come to mind.

  • jonathan Smith

    Daniel, just thought I’d jump into the debate as I stumbled upon your blog. I have to agree with Lisa on this. Firstly, the trailer starts out with a quote from the Prajna Paramita Sutra — a famous Buddhist sutra and talks about the connection between the martial arts and Buddhism and how the martial arts were founded as Bodhisattva Vajramukti (pardon the spelling but that’s what the voice over says). The film also shows many images of Buddha and the star meditating and talking about “true victory being over the self instead of in conquering others” which is a very Buddhist theme. It ends with a voice over from the Way of the Bodhisattva by Shantideva who is the Dalai Lama’s favorite author and the most important Buddhist scholar of all time. The film based on what I could gather from the website is about how like Siddhartha Robin Hood overcomes a life of sex and violence and becomes a Bodhisattva. The sex and violence obviously make the film marketable but there is a very strong Buddhist influence throughout. Buddhists throughout Asia see a strong connection between the martial arts and Buddhism and many films like The Last Samurai, Fearless, even Crouching Tiger have a lot of martial arts and Buddhism featured hand in hand. The Shaolin Temple is a Buddhist temple. Even my martial arts sensei is a devout Japanese Buddhist who talks about how the martial arts come from Buddhism and yoga and the biggest martial arts stars including Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Steven Seagal etc have all said the martial arts and Buddhism are linked. Its wrong to see everything through the eyes of the stereotypical western Buddhist who just meditates all the time. The trailer also shows Hood helping lost souls and the poor and a child while fighting others just as is mentioned in the sutras. How much more Buddhist can a 2 minute trailer be and yet target a mainstream audience? Have you seen any mainstream Hollywood epic ever that has quoted from Buddhist sutras and from Shantideva? Ever? Can you name one? Or do you see Buddhists as meditating monks? Thats a cliche and the film’s website has a lot of info on Buddhism. And the film does not claim to be the first Buddhist Superhero but the first Global Buddhist Superhero — the word Global is important. Being the first superhero epic to be filmed in 12 countries does make it the first Global Buddhist Superhero. There is also a reference on the website to it being about a Maha (Great) Bodhi (Buddhist) Sattva (heroic one). Also, sex and violence are a part of our culture and Hollywood — get used to it. But instead of glorifying it like in rap videos and Tarantino movies, this film is putting in a spiritual context. The least you could do is see whats right with the picture before you see whats wrong with it. If its a boring documentary .. no one will see it. If its an action packed blockbuster with martial arts and kama sutra/ tantric sex (both were a part of Prince Siddhartha’s life and are seen as spiritual and religious in Hindu and Buddhist traditions) and references Buddhist sutras and quotes from Buddhist scholars in the voice over .. its not Buddhist enough. What about the violence in Passion of the Christ? When you think of Jesus do you see violence or peace? Did Mel Gibson not have the right to use violence in his depiction? Think about it and reconsider your post. That’s the right thing to do and its so sad that religious blogs will not encourage spiritual films but find fault with them needlessly. There is not 1 Hollywood styled action film you can quote — not one that has this much Buddhist content and still is marketable and yet all you can say its not Buddhist enough. Because Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Korean and Indian Buddhists don’t matter. Only blond blue eyed western Buddhists do. But of course. We the glorified White people know more about Asian culture and Shaolin monks and Samurai Buddhist warriors and Bodhi Dharma (seen as the founder of Kung Fu by over a billion Asians) than the Asians … of course. Think about it.

  • Daniel Burke

    Thanks for writing, Jim.

    I have seen mainstream Hollywood movies that quote sutras. “Kundun” by Martin Scorscese, for one.

    Secondly, you say that gangsta rap glorifies sex and violence but this trailer puts them in a spiritual context. At the same time, you admit that the trailer uses sex and violence to “market” the film and to gain the attention of a mainstream audience. So, which is it? Exploitation or contextualization?

    Thirdly, the connection between martial arts and Buddhism are just as much Eastern acculturations as is the Western proclivity for silent meditation. But I would like to hear more about how and why Jackie Chan connects Buddhism and fighting, if you could post again.

    Finally, a news blog like this does not exist to prop up films, religious or otherwise.

  • Anand Prakash

    I really don’t know what you all are saying about the trailer having too much sex and violence. The trailer I just saw an hour back looks amazing and there is not much sex and violence at all so I don’t get where the hassle is. I love the ending with the poor kids waving .. that’s so touching!!! Either way, this is probably the first Hollywood styled action film that promotes Buddha, Shantideva and Bodhi Dharma in a cool way and they are each a billion times more important than the Dalai Lama will ever be. Its so funny that a western person like Daniel sees Kundun as a Buddhist film because they think the Dalai Lama is the Buddhist Pope. He is not. Kundun promoted the Dalai Lama and Tibet — not necessarily the Buddha or Bodhi Dharma or Shantideva. And yes Siddhartha did overcome sex and violence to become a Bodhisattva so the film is totally justified. All said and done I agree a blog like this is not to promote films but still the posting is very disrespectful. How would you like it if someone referred to this blog as “some guy who calls himself Daniel Burke writes a blog about religion … I have no comment”. Don’t mind Daniel but it seems to me you are a racist and upset that a popular legend from UK is being presented as a Buddhist. You are probably an evangelical Christian who is really upset and so you have a hidden agenda to undermine the filmmaker. But it seems to me he’s already making headlines in the biggest news publications especially in the East where Buddhist films get the respect they deserve so he does not need your blog lol. Still, a religious blog could and should be a lot more tolerant instead of vindictive like Daniels .. thats just my 2 cents =). Also, there is no correlation between this and gangsta rap .. this shows how one can overcome sex and violence to become a Bodhisattva like Siddhartha, Shantideva and Bodhi Dharma who were all Indian warriors who led the lives of roylaty before becoming spiritual …. gangsta rap shows mindless money and honeys lol. I am very impressed with the trailer and the concept of the film. And there is no character growth if an outlaw is born Buddhist. the story will work if he is an outlaw into sex and violence and then becomes a Buddhist. Thats a superb concept no matter if you are a Christian or a Buddhist.

  • Dorje

    Zen Duke is no doubt the first filmmaker to launch a Global Buddhist Superhero. Zen Duke is the only one to make a film about a Maha Bodhisattva on a Global Scale no one else has ever done it. Daniel Burke is a racist Christian who is upset that Zen Duke has remade Robin Hood as a Bodhisattva and is generating so much attention around the world.