Manjusri raises his Wisdom Sword over Mao Tse-tung
This is the third and last of the yatras (pilgrimages) made by John Bush in the early 2000s, and here he goes to Tibet to look at the wonderful culture that is still surviving there.
The journey takes us first to Gandem monastery, around two hours from Lhasa where we see how a monastery destroyed and desecrated during the cultural revolution has been able to reestablish itself now.
A large part of the film is taken up with Lhasa itself, and the temples, peoples and activities there; the film also travels to Shigatse and Shalu, looking at some of the attempts to rebuild and recover the Tibetans are making to recover their heritage.
Besides learning more about the religion, we also see how the Chinese authorities have changed their tack from outward destruction, to a more subtle kind of corruption which is eating away at the heart of the culture.
The film is memorable, not only because of its description of Tibetan culture and religion, but also for the way it exposes what has been happening under Chinese rule, and for its focus on ordinary people as they still live out, and thereby maintain, their heritage in these trying circumstances.
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