BUDDHISM IN AMERICA

AN ANCIENT RELIGION GROWS EVER STRONGER ROOTS IN A NEW WORLD, WITH THE HELP OF THE MOVIES, POP CULTURE AND THE POLITICS OF REPRESSED TIBET

If you listen closely, you can hear the spinning of the dharma in the multiplexes. In two of the most anticipated Hollywood movies of the season, the talk is of worms and nothingness. About halfway through Seven Years in Tibet, which will open Wednesday to considerable hoopla, Brad Pitt is trying to construct a building. But there is a problem. His workers will not dig a foundation, because they don't want to kill any worms. Why? As Pitt's character is informed: "In a past life, this humble worm could have been your mother." Meanwhile, in Martin Scorsese's Kundun, scheduled to open...