'Equal parts inspiring, quirky, fascinating, and fun ... CINEMA NIRVANA will make you look at film and faith in a new light.'
- DALLAS MORNING NEWS
Enlightenment Lessons from the Movies
Three Rivers Press
"Witty, vivid, deftly eclectic . . . This surprising book spins straw into gold . . . A clever way to make dharma accessible to the cinema-soaked Western mind."
- Snow Lion Newsletter
From Bogart to Buddha . . .
Movie fans and spiritual seekers, unite! In Cinema Nirvana, meditation teacher and award-winning film critic Dean Sluyter illuminates the hidden enlightenment teachings of some of America's best-loved films. Nirvana, says Sluyter, is where you find it - and the movies are as good a place as any to look. To prove it, Cinema Nirvana analyzes Jaws, The Graduate, The Godfather, Jailhouse Rock, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and ten other classic films, and finds surprising spiritual wisdom in everything from the color of Dopey's eyes to the secret weapons in 007's Aston Martin.
What can Casablanca teach us about enlightened commitment to the happiness of others? What does Memento show about the slippery nature of time and "reality"? What qualities of realization are personified by James Bond, Clint Eastwood, Snow White, the Marx Brothers?
So grab your popcorn, sit back, and prepare to have your mind opened. Cinema Nirvana is a funny but wise, practical but wildly entertaining guide to finding enlightenment - one movie at a time.
(Read an excerpt from Chapter 1: Dare to Be Dopey - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.)
(View a TV interview on Chapter 6: All You Can Eat - Jaws.)
A One Spirit Book Club Selection
"Sluyter is the movie guru I have longed for. He mines deep spiritual wisdom from classic films with tremendous humor and grace. Virtually every page contains jaw-dropping insights and laugh-out-loud surprises."
- Lama John Makransky, Prof. of Buddhism and Comparative Theology, Boston College
"Dean Sluyter has one of the freshest voices in spiritual writing today. From the common ore of pop culture he extracts the gleaming diamonds of dharma-wisdom. Take this jolly ride with him and you'll never see movies - or your own life - in the same way again."
- Lama Surya Das, author of Awakening the Buddha Within
"Entertaining and thoughtful in turn, Cinema Nirvana compels you to watch the movies in the way a buddha might see them."
- Stephen Batchelor, author of Living with the Devil
"If you spliced together DNA from Quentin Tarantino and the Dalai Lama, you'd get Dean Sluyter and he'd write this amazing book."
- Michael Gelb, author of How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci
"From its opening title straight on to its finale, Cinema Nirvana is original, amusing, and on the ball. It will help you stay awake at the movies and dream more in real life."
- Kate Wheeler, author of Not Where I Started From
"Dean Sluyter's Cinema Nirvana is flat-out brilliant. I have lived with these classic movies and these core teachings my whole adult life, yet I constantly felt blown away by the freshness and richness of the dharmic connections Dean perceives in every scene."
- Lewis Richmond, author of Work as a Spiritual Practice
"It's been said that we are in the material world to get more material. Dean Sluyter is a master who weaves the material of our culture into a dazzling tapestry. In Cinema Nirvana, Dean helps us find enlightenment in a darkened movie theater."
- Steve Bhaerman, aka Swami Beyondananda
- Introduction: Snap Out of It
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937): Dare to Be Dopey
- The Big Sleep (1946): Dancing in the Dark
- Independence Day (1996): This Is It
- The Graduate (1967): Whaddaya Got?
- Easy Rider (1969): We Blew It
- Jaws (1975): All You Can Eat
- The Truman Show (1998): The Real World
- Memento (2000): Now, Where Was I?
- The Godfather (1972): I Believe in America
- Goldfinger (1964): Divine Heaviness
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956): The Lies of the Enlightened
- Fistful of Dollars (1964): Spaghetti Samurai
- Jailhouse Rock (1957): Nix, Nix
- A Night at the Opera (1935): Nothing Happens
- Casablanca (1942): You Must Remember This
Attend an Event
For readings, workshops, and movie screenings related to this book, please see Events page.
Get a Copy
Cinema Nirvana is available wherever books are sold, or you can order personally signed copies (inscribed to the name of your choice) at $14.
International Orders: Outside the continental U.S., please order from local bookstores or online sources, as overseas shipping rates are prohibitive.