Books and Film Resources

For the passionate and the intrigued, find below a suggested listing of films, books, and music of Tibet, Buddhist philosophy, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, or themes relating to community, resilience, and compassion.

Documentaries

Netflix:

Dreaming of Tibet, 56 minutes, 2006
Documentary. Directed by Will Parrinello
Looks at the lives of three extraordinary Tibetan exiles, and at the recent history of their country, which forced them to flee. With HHDL, Richard Gere, Goldie Hawn.

The Dhamma Brothers, 76 minutes, 2008
Documentary. Writer/Producer/Director Jenny Phillips
Story of 10 day Vipassana Retreat held in an Alabama correctional facility and the transformation of the inmates during this experience.

Compassion in Emptiness, 104 minutes, 2010
Documentary, Producer: Richard Gere Foundation
Two teachings by HHDL in New York City including Awakening the Heart of Selflessness.

The Sun Behind the Clouds, 79 minutes, 2008
Documentary, Writer / Director: Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam
Explores the personal and historic, political and spiritual and the tension behind the Dalai Lama’s efforts for the Tibetan situation using dialogue and the impatience of the younger generation who may prefer a more confrontational course.

The Buddha, 120 minutes, 2010 http://www.pbs.org/thebuddha/
PBS Documentary, director David Grubin, narrator: Richard Gere
Life and journey of the Buddha.

Youtube:

What Remains of Us, 106 mins, 2004
Canadian documentary. Producer / Writer / Director by François Prévost,
A young Tibetan from Québec, Canada, enters her homeland for the first time — carrying a clandestine video message from the Dalai Lama to Tibetans inside Tibet. Explores the survival of the nonviolent resistance movement in Tibet. The documentary was shot over eight years without the knowledge of the Chinese authorities.

Tibet the Story of a Tragedy, 6 part series, 60 min. 1995
Documentary. French, Producer / Director Ludovic Segarra
Documentary uses archival footage dating as far back as 1938, with an excellent explanatory voice-over in English. Like many films about Tibet, it concentrates on the history and political story.

The Yogis of Tibet: A Film for Posterity, 80 min., 2003
Documentary. Written by Barbara King and produced by Phil and Jo Borack with the cooperation of the monks of the Drikung Kagyu Tradition. Explores the teachings and practices of the yogis, those rare individuals whose commitment to awakening is so strong that they live in caves, charnel grounds, or in other forms of "extreme retreat" for years or even decades. The viewer is given a look at some of those practices that have been hidden (for good reason---some of the energies worked with can be dangerous without the guidance of someone who's been there and done that) and gets to meet some interesting characters.

The Old Man and the Storm, 2006
Frontline Segment. In The Old Man and the Storm, FRONTLINE correspondent and filmmaker June Cross journeys with the Gettridge family of New Orleans for 18 months as they endure devastation, political turmoil and a painstakingly slow bureaucratic process to rebuild their homes and their lives post Katrina.

Commercial Films

Samsara, 2012
Film. Written and Directed by Ron Fricke.
Samsara is a nonverbal film described by the makers as a "guided meditation". The film uses very high quality images, scenes of nature and mankind to stimulate the viewer. The film contains no plot or actors, although there are several performers in the film. Samsara is Ron Fricke's 2011 follow-up to Baraka.

Kundun, 134 min. 1997
Film written by Melissa Mathison and directed by Martin Scorsese
Epic biographical film based on the life and writings of the 14th Dalai Lama, 1937-1959. Tenzin Thuthob Tsarong, a grandnephew of the Dalai Lama, stars as the adult Dalai Lama.

Seven Years in Tibet, 137 min. 1997
Film. Directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud.
Based on the 1952 book Seven Years in Tibet written by Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer on his experiences in Tibet between 1944 -1951.

DVDs

The Discovering Buddhism, 2 discs, 13, 30 min segments, 2004
DVDs produced by the Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition, the 13 topics presented by both Tibetans and westerners: Mind and Its Potential; How to Meditate; Presenting the Path; The Spiritual Teacher; Death and Rebirth; All About Karma; Refuge in the Three Jewels; Establishing a Daily Practice; Samsara and Nirvana; How to Develop Bodhichitta; Transforming Problems; Wisdom of Emptiness ; Introduction to Tantra.

Books

Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, 1994, 2002
Sogyal Rinpoche
Modern update and considered the ultimate introduction to Tibetan Buddhist wisdom. Non Fiction

The Art of Happiness, 1999, 2009
His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama
Psychologist Howard Cutler poses questions about happiness to the Dalai Lama during an extended period of interviews. Cutler helps to blend psychology with the Dalai Lamas Buddhist meditations and stories. Non Fiction

The Story of Tibet, Conversations with the Dalai Lama, 2006
Thomas Laird
Over the course of three years, journalist Thomas Laird spent more than sixty hours with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in candid, one-on-one interviews that covered history, science, reincarnation, and Buddhism. Laird brings these meetings to life in rich, vibrant, and monumental work that outlines the essence of thousands of years of civilization, myth, and spirituality. Non Fiction

The Dream of the Turquoise Bee, 2012
Dianne Aigaki
Based upon first-hand experience in the Himalayas, this heart-rending tale will keep you riveted. In a tale of romance and intrique in the grand tradition of impossible quests and triumphs, Erzebet, the erstwhile protagonist, sets out to uncover the details of her husband's death while attempting to locate the elusive Himalayan Blue Poppy. What follows is a series of the most unexpected challenges, heart-rending connections, cultural contrasts, international politics, and aching love affairs. Fiction

The Emotional Life of Your Brain, 2011
Richard Davidson
Dr. Davidson’s latest book offers a new model for understanding our emotions – their origins, their power and their malleability. He has discovered that personality is composed of six basic emotional “styles,” including resilience, self-awareness, and attention. Our emotional fingerprint results from where on the continuum of each style we fall. He explains the brain circuits that underlie each style in order to give us a new model of the emotional brain, one that will even go so far as to affect the way we treat conditions like autism and depression. And, finally, he provides strategies we can use to change our own brains and emotions-if that is what we want to do. Non Fiction

The Jew in the Lotus: A Poet’s Rediscovery of Jewish Identity in Buddhist India, 1994
Rodger Kamenetz
While accompanying eight high–spirited Jewish delegates to Dharamsala, India, for a historic Buddhist–Jewish dialogue with the Dalai Lama, poet Rodger Kamenetz comes to understand the convergence of Buddhist and Jewish thought. Non Fiction

So Far From Home: Lost and Found in Our Brave New World, 2012
Margaret Wheatley
This book describes how we can do our good work with dedication, energy, discipline and joy by consciously choosing a new role for ourselves, that of that of warriors for the human spirit. Non Fiction.