This is an unusual documentary by Grant MacLean recounting the heroic escape of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and his followers from Tibet across the Himalayas into India during the Chinese invasion of the country in 1959.
The film is basically a reading of the story as gleaned from Rinpoche’s 1966 book Born in Tibet, and other eye-witness accounts, illustrated with drawings and maps by Rinpoche, satellite photographs from Google Earth and CGIs taken from Microsoft’s Flight Simulator programme following the path taken by the party.
The journey was truly epic in scale, and took in some of the highest mountain passes in the world, uncrossable rivers, which they crossed nevertheless, and ambushes from the Chinese troops, and took 9 months before the decimated entourage arrived in India.
Out of the three hundred that eventually joined the group only fourteen managed to cross the Brahmaputra river, the others were caught in crossfire from the Chinese, and how many managed to escape is sadly unknown even to this day.
The film ends by quickly recounting some of the later history of Rinpoche and assessing the impact that his teaching has had on the development of Buddhism in the West.
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The Final Flight in India
Trungpa Rinpoche in the West