Tibet: A Buddhist Trilogy (1984 Documentary)

Tibet: A Buddhist Trilogy is one of the very highly accomplished films to be made about our culture ... The film also captures the sense of inner peace and light-heartedness in the face of adversity, which many have remarked is a compelling quality of the Tibetan character. --His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

New direct-to-digital transfer and remaster from original 16mm film

Bonus Features Include:
Interview with the Producer and Director and the complete sound recording from a tantric Buddhist ritual

Stunning cinematography, unprecedented access and informed direction take us on an intimate journey deep into the heart of the ancient Buddhist culture of Tibet. This is a classic work filmed in 16mm on location in India, Nepal and Ladakh during 1977. Hailed as a masterpiece, this is a spellbinding exploration of Tibetan Buddhism.

Written and directed by Graham Coleman (editor of the recently released first complete translation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead) and produced and photographed by David Lascelles, the film features an intimate portrait of the Dalai Lama, a rare look at an ancient tantric ritual associated with the female deity Tara, commentary based on the teachings of the great 20th century Tibetan master Dudjom Rinpoche, and the moving response of a monastery to a death in the community.

In making the Trilogy, we were searching for an immediacy, intimacy and unobtrusiveness, which had been so masterfully achieved in such classic documentaries as Robert Flaherty's Nanook of the North and the films of Fred Wiseman. We were trying to allow the Tibetan way of life to speak directly to the audience. Above all, we hoped that the film would draw the audience into the spirit of the Tibetan way of life, into its lightheartedness, openness and quietly powerful awareness of the sacred. --Director Graham Coleman

Part I: The Dalai Lama, the Monasteries and the People
Filmed in the Dalai Lama's residence in Dharamsala, India, and in the rebuilt Sera Monastery, the second largest monastery of the old Tibet, the opening part of the Trilogy observes the Dalai Lama in his dual role as head of state and spiritual teacher. The film interweaves this personal portrait with an intimately observed exploration of the ways in which the inner knowledge of Tibetan Buddhist culture is developed in the monasteries through vigorous debate and solitary meditation, and communicated to the lay community.

Part II: Radiating the Fruit of Truth
Part II journeys deep into the mystical inner world of monastic life. Set in the ancient village of Boudha, Nepal, and the isolated mountain caves of the yogis, the film follows the lamas of the Phulwary Sakya Monastery through their contemplative retreats, the building of an intricate cosmogram, and the performance of an ancient protective ritual invocation of the female deity Tara known as "A Beautiful Ornament." With a commentary based on the teachings of the great 20th century master Dudjom Rinpoche, the essence of tantric Buddhism is powerfully revealed.

Part III: The Fields of the Senses
Set in the majestic mountain landscape of Ladakh, Part III is a meditation on impermanence and the relationship between the mind, body and environment. It follows monks and farmers through a day, ending with an unflinching depiction of a monastery's moving ritual response to a death in the community. As in the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the departed is guided through the dream-like intermediate state between death and birth.

Written and Directed by Graham Coleman
Produced and Photographed by David Lascelles
Narrated by Thupten Jinpa

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