This episode sees the expedition crossing the southern route of the Taklamakan desert, which in the Uighar language means the place from which no living thing returns.
The Kingdom of Lou-lan was an ancient Buddhistic kingdom which used to house 4,000 monks, a quarter of the population, but the remains are sparse indeed, as it disappeared into the desert it arose in, long ago.
The Dark Castle of the title refers to the fortress at Khara-khoto, which was a main center of the Tangut state. The Castle has legendary status amongst the local people, who fear to go there, but the crew find some guides and trek across the desert on camels.
This episode focuses on the magnificent Mo-gao caves at Dun-huang in the Gobi desert. In this complex, there are 500 caves and over 3,000 statues and murals. It is counted as the longest art gallery in the world.
This episode sees the expedition crossing first the Yellow River, with its goat-skin rafts and giant waterwheels, and entering the Gobi desert along the He-xi corridor, where it visits some of the main citadels along the route.
Recently I attended a talk by Thich Nhat Hanh, and while looking for material to post here I came across his 10 Mindful Movements, which are very similar to the practices I have developed myself.
The first episode in the series focuses on Chang-an, which in modern-day China is called Xi-an. It was formerly the capital of China and the source of the Silk Road which ran from there to Rome. In ancient times it was the largest city in the world.
For All Mankind is a documentary about the first moon-landings from 1969-1972. In that time 12 men set foot on the moon, and this film has nearly 80 minutes of footage from those trips, including much that was not released at the time.
Here is an animated video in the sumi-e style of painting. The film is inspired by Toaist thought and includes drawing of the Yin and Yang symbols as well as the I-ching.