Our list of Buddhist-themes movies you have to see

We love movies and our best guess is you do too. With so many streaming services options and studios around the would pouring out flicks constantly we could probably use more hours in a day and more days in a year to watch all the movies we want to. There’s blockbusters from Hollywood, Indie movies, Netflix and Amazon productions, Wuxia, sagas for teenagers and sexy flicks for middle-aged women with a Christian Grey obsession… Too many options to choose from. 

So we’re taking a different route here today and coming up with a list of inspiring buddhist themed films because we’re all about becoming inspired and being mindful. So why not become inspired while being entertained? 


We warn you, these movies can give you all the feels, so watch at your own risk.

ZEN - The Life Of Master Dogen

Japanese Buddhist monk and teacher Dogen Zenji is credited to be the founder of Japanese Zen. The movie depicts his journey to China in search for ‘real’ Buddhism and his tumultuous return to Japan after attaining enlightenment. Dogen is played by Japanese actor Kankurô Nakamura

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring

From acclaimed Korean writer/director Kim Ki-Duk comes this exquisitely beautiful and award-winning human drama set on a tree-lined lake where a tiny Buddhist monastery floats on a raft. Under the vigilant eye of Old Monk (Yeong-su Oh), Child Monk learns a hard lesson about the nature of sorrow when some of his childish games turn cruel. In the intensity and lushness of summer, the monk, now a young man (Young-min Kim), experiences the power of lust, a desire that will ultimately lead him to dark deeds. With winter, the man atones for his past actions, and spring starts the cycle anew. With an extraordinary attention to visual detail, Kim has crafted an original yet universal story about the human spirit, moving from innocence, through love and evil, to enlightenment and finally rebirth.


Samsara is a 2001 independent Indian/Italian/French/German film which tells the story of a Buddhist monk‘s quest to find Enlightenment.

What is more important: satisfying one thousand desires or conquering just one? A spiritual love story set in majestic landscape of Ladakh, in the Himalayas, SAMSARA is a quest, one man’s struggle to find spiritual enlightenment.

Tashi began his training as a Buddhist monk at the age of five. Twenty years later, he emerges from a three-year solitary meditation, for which he is awarded the degree of khenpo by the rinpoche. When Tashi begins to have wet dreams, his relationships at the temple become strained. 


n 1937, a two-and-a-half year old boy from a simple family in Tibet was recognized as the 14th reincarnation of the Buddha of Compassion, and destined to become the spiritual and political leader of his people. Director Martin Scorsese brings to the screen the true story of the Dalai Lama. Told through the eyes of His Holiness, “Kundun” brings to life the account of the Dalai Lama’s early life, from childhood through the Chinese invasion of Tibet and his journey into exile.


This one is as Hollywood as it gets but it’s sure worth a mention in our list!

Brad Pitt stars in this epic spiritual drama about the great Austrian mountain climber, Heinrich Harrer. After escaping from a World War II British prisoner-of-war camp in Kashmir, Herrer finds refuge in the sacred land of Tibet where he unexpectedly becomes both tutor and student of the young Dalai Lama. While teaching the young spiritual leader about the world, about the west and about geography, Harrer deals with his own personal issues as the loss of his family becomes clearer and clearer and as he struggles to find his place in the world. After the war, at the end of the world his journey begings.


A Buddhist monk, Lama Norbu, believes that a 10-year-old American boy, Jesse, is the reincarnation of his spiritual teacher, Lama Dorje. Jesse’s father, Dean, and mother, Lisa, are dubious, but following his business partner’s suicide, a transformed Dean relents and allows his son to travel to Bhutan. However, there are two other children who the monk thinks may also be the reincarnation of Lama Dorje.


Wheel of Time is a 2003 documentary film by German director Werner Herzog about Tibetan Buddhism. The title refers to the Kalachakra sand mandala that provides a recurring image for the film. The film documents the two Kalachakra initiations of 2002, presided over by the fourteenth Dalai Lama