Ruth Denison – The Silent Dance of Life


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New York Insight Meditation Center
28 West 27th St.,10th Fl.


Date(s) - 11/09/2017
6:30 pm - 9:00 pm


New York Insight Meditation Center
28 West 27th St.,10th Fl.

Event Details

“Ruth Denison – The Silent Dance of Life” (102 min.) Documentary by Aleksandra Kumorek

**Aleksandra will be giving a talk before the viewing of the film.

“The Silent Dance of Life” is the first feature length documentary on Ruth Denison and her meditation center, “Dhamma Dena” in the Mojave Desert of California. Born in 1922 Ruth Denison was a pioneer of Buddhism in the West and a groundbreaker for women everywhere. Filmmaker Aleksandra Kumorek accompanied her during her last years until Ruth´s death in February 2015.

Ruth was among the first western women authorized by an Asian master to teach Buddhist meditation. For over forty years Ruth taught Vipassana meditation around the world. She helped thousands of people work through tremendous pain and suffering. Flamboyant and unconventional, Ruth’s style was truly unique. She was especially known for her work with trauma. Through her compassion, wisdom, and clarity of mind she guided many individuals to heal their heart and mind and create a new life. In this intimate portrait we encounter an exceptional woman, the healing of inner demons and the desert in all its terrible beauty.

Born in Germany in 1922, Ruth Schäfer came of age during World War II, and experienced the horrors of World War II first hand, which included extreme abuse in Soviet work camps after Germany´s defeat. In 1957 Ruth immigrated to the United States, to Los Angeles California, in the midst of the incipient flower power movement. Together with her husband Henry Denison, Ruth associated with many artists, intellectuals and Buddhist teachers who were looking for new forms of expression – a “new consciousness”.

They frequently hosted luminaries in their home in the Hollywood hills, including Aldous and Laura Huxley, Alan Watts, Charlotte Selver, Timothy Leary, Ram Dass, Lama Govinda, Li Gotami, Vimala Thakar, Erich Fromm, Ayya Khema, Buddhist monk Ajahn Sumedho and UG Krisnamurti among others. After years of practicing meditation and traveling around the world to meet masters first hand, in 1971 Ruth was authorized by her teacher Burmese master U Ba Khin, becoming one of the first female Buddhist teachers in the Western world – famous for her innovative and “feminine” approach. In 2006 Ruth Denison was awarded by the United Nations for her contributions to Buddhism.

“The Silent Dance of Life” is not simply a documentary about a Buddhist teacher – the film itself is a meditation, that allows us to experience the silence and slow pace of the Mojave desert, to become a visitor in Ruth´s unique center, to feel the interconnectedness of all life and to be part of this “silent dance” – as the Buddhists call it.

Aleksandra Kumorek, based in Berlin/Germany, has been working as a writer, film director and producer for more than 20 years. She studied in Berlin and in the UK and teaches at universities in Germany and Switzerland. Aleksandra directed award winning documentary and fictional films for cinema and television. She is a long-term Buddhist practitioner and co-founder of the Mindful Artists Network.

This is a dana based event. Suggested donation is $15. More is always welcome, but know that no one will be turned away for lack of funds.