Tibet: A Buddhist Trilogy (1984)

Genres - Culture & Society, Spirituality & Philosophy  |   Sub-Genres - Anthropology, Religions & Belief Systems, Social Issues  |   Run Time - 231 min.  |   Countries - UK  |  
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This trilogy of films on Tibetans in exile focuses first on daily life in a refugee community in southern India, then on life and rituals in a similar community far to the north, in Nepal, and finally, on a two-hour puja or meditation on Green Tara, the national protectoress of Tibet and remover of life's obstacles. The Tara meditation is chanted with drums, horns, cymbals, and multiple hand gestures, and illustrated by images of the green-skinned female saint (bodhisattva) sitting on a lotus. It is spellbinding and inspirational for some viewers, and a little too long for others. The first two separate films, an hour each, show carpet makers, farmers tilling their fields, scenes at school, a cremation, monks in theological debate, scenes of monastic life, and a brief interview with the Dalai Lama (Noble Peace prize winner and acknowledged religious leader of the Tibetans). This trilogy is excellent for anyone wishing to expand their knowledge of a culture endangered by the Communist Chinese policy of suppressing both Buddhism and the Tibetan language in Tibet, not to mention using Tibet as a continuing site for nuclear testing, and the dumping of nuclear waste.