Tibet : A Buddhist Trilogy

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  • Hailed for its accurate portrayal of a society whose ancient ways survived intact into the 20th century, this documentary, released in 1979, takes viewers to the heart of an ancient Buddhist culture with an in-depth exploration of Tibetan spirituality and daily life. Segment one, The Dalai Lama, the Monasteries, and the People, begins by observing Tibetan monks engaged in spirited metaphysical debate, revealing the everyday life of the Dalai Lama before he was widely known in the West in his dual role as political leader and spiritual teacher. Segment two, Radiating the Fruit of Truth, moves deeper into the inner world of monastic life, powerfully revealing the essence of tantric Buddhism as it follows the monks of Phulwary Sakya Monastery through their contemplative retreats, the building of an intricate cosmogram, and the performance of an ancient protective ritual known as A Beautiful Ornament. And segment three, The Fields of the Senses, is a meditation on impermanence, ending with an unflinching depiction of the monastery's moving ritual response to a death in the community. As in The Tibetan Book of the Dead, the departed is guided through the dream-like intermediate state between death and birth. Tibet: A Buddhist Trilogy toured with the Dalai Lama on his first visit to America and in 2006 was digitally restored and recut by the director.


  • Films on Demand is distributed by Films Media Group for Films for the Humanities & Sciences, Cambridge Educational, Meridian Education, and Shopware.
  • Encoded with permission for digital streaming by Films Media Group on March 09, 2011.
  • System requirements: FOD playback platform.
  • Mode of access: Internet.
  • Closed-captioned.
  • Portions in other languages with English subtitles.


  • Introduction to Tibet's Living Cultural Legacy (1:21) -- Sera Monastic University, Tibetan Settlemen - Bylakuppe, South India, 1977 (5:14) -- The Dalai Lama's Residence Dharmasalam North India (2:05) -- Tibetan Buddhist Oral Lineages (6:39) -- Tibetan Buddhist Community Blessing (5:43) -- Tibetan Uprising Day Speech (4:44) -- The Great Stupa and the Phulwary Sakya Monastery, Boudha, Nepal, 1977 (3:02) -- The Awakened Ones (4:44) -- The Chamber of Tarik Rinpoche, Abbot of Phulwary Sakya Monastery (2:02) -- Pharping, A Sacred Place of Retreat (3:17) -- Preparation for "A Beautiful Ornament" (2:34) -- Meditation in the Forest of Pharping (2:38) -- Constructing the Cosmogram (12:13) -- "A Beautiful Ornament" (4:55) -- The Generation In the Mind Of the Meditational Deity Tara (4:52) -- The Generation And Empowerment Of the Cosmogram (3:50) -- The Generation And Offering Of The Torma (5:45) -- The Prostration to Tara (3:02) -- The Generation In The Mind Of The Meditational Deity Hayagriva (17:11) -- Tibetan Buddhist Monastery, Tiskey Valley, Ladakh Spring 1977 (6:20) -- Meditation on Impermanence and the Relationship Between Mind, Body and Physical Environment. (4:54) -- Fields of the Senses (9:15) -- Tiskey Valley Monastery (8:06) -- Tibetan Buddhist Ritual (7:12) -- Credits: Tibet: A Buddhist Trilogy (1:25)
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