This unique Korean film explores the relationship between an elderly Zen master, an orphaned boy, and a young monk named Ki Bong.
With little time left before his impending death, Master Hyegok teaches his two students all he knows about Zen Buddhism, which he has devoted his life to.
In order to learn, both Ki Bong and the orphan Hae Jin must face and overcome their feelings of guilt for past deeds. Ki Bong left behind his blind mother and family when he came to the monastery; Hae Jin accidentally caused the death of a bird.
After the old man's death, the monk and the orphan attempt to use their master's teachings to achieve spiritual enlightenment.
From the review in the New York Times:
Again and again, the film finds visual analogues for the oneness of the universe and the enlightenment to be found through the renunciation of earthly desires. In gazing into the physical world with a fixity, clarity and depth rarely found in the cinema, "Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?" goes about as far as a film can go in conjuring a meditative state.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find a trailer online.
If you haven't seen this film, and if you have any interest in Buddhism, run -- don't walk -- to your video store and rent it NOW. One of the best films I have ever seen.