This documentary by David Cherniack looks at the place of the Oracles in Tibetan Buddhism (original title is: The Oracle, Reflections on Self). The interest began when David was allowed to film the State Oracle in 1989, as he was filming he was almost swept off his feet by the power emanating from the Oracle. At that time he was unable to follow up on the experience though.
Between 2006 and 2011 David returned to Dharamsala to collect the materials for this film. He looks at all aspects of the oracle, its history in the old Bon religion, and adoption by Tibetan Buddhism, and the gradual increase of its importance to the stage where the Dalai Lama and the Govt.-in-Exile both consult the oracle before making important decisions.
In Dharamsala itself there are four main oracles, which include one woman, the radiant Namsel Donma (Khandro La), who is the medium for the Tenma Oracle. The oracles give interviews and talk about their position, and also there is an extended interview with the Dalai Lama about the phenomena, and its place in Tibetan Buddhism.
The film also discusses the problem of the Dorje Shugden, the oracle for the Gelug tradition, who is regarded as an exclusivist, and has been banned by the Dalai Lama as being too divisive for the good of the community and people.
Lesser oracles also exist at the village level and are usually consulted on all sorts of matters, including illness, marriage and good fortune in business. There is some ambiguity about whether their traditional role as spiritual advisors is being undermined by materialist needs.
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