What is this project all about?
„May all beings be happy.“
This well-known Buddhist phrase plays a central role in Mahayana
Buddhism. Most of us – Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike –
would not contradict this statement.
And still: millions of animals are suffering every day on factory farms and due to other human activities such as animal research, ivory trade, hunting, overfishing, by-catch and the destruction of animal habitats through climate change and humanity’s ever-increasing need for space.
The film – based on the seminar by the same name spearheaded
by Martin Kalff, Vanja Palmers and Sister Theresia Raberger –
uses meditations, short lectures and other activities to develop
compassion for animals, joy and wonder for their skills and
capabilities. By spending time meditating in close physical
proximity with animals in their own environment participants
experience the animals’ essence, their vitality and their
Besides developing wonder and compassion for external animals, the idea of the inner animal is also part of the seminar. Inner animals can find their expression in dreams or fantasies. The inner animal can be hurt, caged, enraged or gentle and kind and can represent how one relates to one’s instincts, vital joy or perhaps unchecked aggression, lack of energy or lack of empathy. The relationship with the inner animal represents a mirror image of the relationship to external animals and vice-versa.
Inspired by the experiences from several seminars over the last three years, these themes would be presented in concentrated form to a broader audience through the medium of film.
What is the project goal and who is the project for?
- the film will lead to the development of increased appreciation for animals – inner and external ones – and to an increased reflection of and change in our behavior towards animals.
- The film will show viewers a new and different way to access silence and mindfulness. An interesting alternative to traditional meditation.
- The film addresses all interested viewers – whether Buddhist or non-Buddhist. It is especially targeted to those viewers who are interested in questions of ethics and how society treats animals today.
In particular, the film will be distributed (cost-free) to the
- Animal activists and their organizations
- Buddhist organisations
- Other religious organisations
- Ethics foundations
- Meditation and Yoga organisations
- Nature and environmental conservation organisations
- Trade fairs and conferences (veganism, vegetarianism, animal rights, meditation, yoga, etc.)
- Arthouse movie theaters (special theme weeks)
- Film festivals (with the subject ethics, animal rights, religion, documentary films, etc.)
- Internet platforms (subject ethics, animals, animal rights, religion, etc.)
- The film will also be made available to specific trade media outlets (Online Print and TV).
Why would you support this project?
According to C.G. Jung’s theory of projection, when we treat
other beings mindlessly then we can pretty much assume that we also
treat ourselves mindlessly. This project is all about developing
compassion and mindfulness: for animals, but in the end it’s also
about developing compassion and mindfulness for ourselves.
How will we use the money if the project is successfully funded?
The funds gathered through the crowdfunding will go 100% towards
the production of the MeditANIMALS! documentary film. We have
received funding from a private philanthropist and from an ethics
foundation for part of the production (that’s how we were able to
shoot the images for the film already).
Since the funds won’t cover the complete production of the film, we need your help!
We will use the money for the post production of the film: for tasks such as editing, sound engineering, music, subtitles, and much more!
Who are the people behind the project?
The three main people behind the project – IN FRONT of the camera – are Martin Kalff, Vanja Palmers and Sister Theresia Raberger.
Martin Kalff has been leading seminars at the Felsentor Center
on the Rigi (central Switzerland) for the last 10 years. His
courses are based on the Tibetan-Buddhist tradition, but are open
to participants from all religious backgrounds.
The Felsentor Foundation was founded by Vanja Palmers and includes a Zen temple which is a wonderful place for meditation. The Foundation also maintains an animal welfare center which is lead by Sister Theresia and offers refuge to sheep, goats, pigs, chickens and other animals who have been fortunate enough to escape their premature end in the farming business.
BEHIND the camera, the Project Team consists of the following people:
Director: Erika Eichenberger
Camera and Post Production: Markus Zehnder
Markus Zehnder is cameraman, editor and digital artist. He makes
corporate and music films as a freelance artist. In his free time
he practices Yoga and deep-sea diving.
Who is Martin Kalff? http://caringforthesoul.org/sandplay-in-switzerland/faculty/
Article about Martin Kalff about Meditation and animals (German only!): www.ethik-heute.org
Who is Vanja Palmers?
Who is Sister Theresia Raberger?