Yujiro Seki

My name is Yujiro Seki, and over the course of the past several years I singlehandedly planned, shot and edited a feature length documentary, called Carving the Divine. I had the rare opportunity to follow a guild of Buddhist sculptors from the studio of Busshi, Koun Seki, a former apprentice of the legendary Būshi, Kourin Saito. Master Seki is a pioneer in preserving and advancing the art of Busshi: He’s not only taken many apprentices under his wing; he’s also established a school for the Japanese public to learn the craft. I was also grateful to be able to feature one of Japan’s foremost Busshi, Kourin Saito himself. Grand Master Saito shows not only the craftsmanship, but also the passion and discipline it takes to master this demanding art form. Lastly, I was granted rare access into the life and rites of Buddhist priests, and especially those of Shigon, or “True Word” Buddhism. When I explained the import of the film, these priests granted me the honor and privilege of filming from within their alter area, a secretive space within temples that’s usually off limits to anyone outside the priestly class.

The South African International Film Festival

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