The Japanese population’s reaction to the catastrophe of March 2011 has been described as “stoic” by the Western media. The Japanese code of conduct is indeed deeply rooted in their Buddhist traditions, and young filmmakers Tim Graf and Jakob Montrasio observe in detail what this means for the people and their religion. At graveyards, in temples, at monasteries and with families, they question the impact this triple affliction has had on the lives and beliefs of the inhabitants. How deeply do their beliefs affect their grieving? What role do the monks play in assisting people with their grief? And, what effects has this enormous catastrophe had on their religious rituals? SOULS OF ZEN inserts the events of March 2011 into the context of traditional Zen Buddhism, examining Japan’s religiousness and the beliefs of those practising it at a crucial turning point.