Vajra Sky: Over Tibet Series

Lectures curated around Vajra Sky: Over Tibet that examines the indomitable faith of Tibet’s endangered Buddhist community and the imminent threat to its very survival. “Vajra (Vaj-ra) is the thunderbolt of illumination flashing from the vastness of an open sky that cuts through delusion.” Vajra Sky: Over Tibet is a cinematic pilgrimage with unprecedented access to many legendary venues, this is one of the rare documentaries to be filmed entirely inside of Tibet. The film has received the blessing and endorsement of The Dalai Lama. Against a backdrop of breathtaking Himalayan terrain, the film journeys to some of the most revered temples, monasteries and festivals still surviving in Tibet today. Without permission of the Chinese authorities, traveling inconspicuously with a guide and driver, shooting in existing light, director/ cinematographer John Bush is also visiting the source of his own spiritual practice. As a western Buddhist many doors open to him and his camera as Tibetans want the world to know that their exquisite traditions are still alive but under serious threat. The vastness of the Tibetan sky, reflecting snowy mountains, rushing rivers, and turquoise lakes leads the journey west. Visiting these esteemed pilgrimage sites, one sees the universal truth and beauty expressed through the extraordinary art, architecture and customs of classical Tibet. Responding to the denial of the basic human right to practice one’s religion without interference, Tibetan pilgrims visit these legendary sites with a defiant ardor and overt displays of devotion. Vajra Sky: Over Tibet reveals a deliberate policy of Chinese authorities in the 21st century to destroy this 1,500 year old tradition from within, after five decades of attempting to destroy it from the outside. One hears that photos of the Dalai Lama are illegal everywhere in Tibet and learns how the atheist leaders of China are maneuvering to install their own reincarnated Dalai Lama after the present spiritual leader passes away. The empty palaces of the Dalai Lama – the Potala and Norbulinka echo the painful loss of the Tibetan’s own living Buddha. During the Drepung festival, a giant tapestry scroll of the Buddha covers a mountain side as spiritually famished Chinese join with the multitude of Tibetan pilgrims. This closing scene invokes a redemptive vision of renewal within the surviving Buddhist community of Tibet.

Lectures curated around Vajra Sky: Over Tibet that examines the indomitable faith of Tibet’s endangered Buddhist community and the imminent threat to its very survival. “Vajra (Vaj-ra) is the thunderbolt of illumination flashing from the vastness of an open sky that cuts through delusion.” Vajra Sky: Over Tibet is a cinematic pilgrimage with unprecedented access to many legendary venues, this is one of the rare documentaries to be filmed entirely inside of Tibet. The film has received the blessing and endorsement of The Dalai Lama. Against a backdrop of breathtaking Himalayan terrain, the film journeys to some of the most revered temples, monasteries and festivals still surviving in Tibet today. Without permission of the Chinese authorities, traveling inconspicuously with a guide and driver, shooting in existing light, director/ cinematographer John Bush is also visiting the source of his own spiritual practice. As a western Buddhist many doors open to him and his camera as Tibetans want the world to know that their exquisite traditions are still alive but under serious threat. The vastness of the Tibetan sky, reflecting snowy mountains, rushing rivers, and turquoise lakes leads the journey west. Visiting these esteemed pilgrimage sites, one sees the universal truth and beauty expressed through the extraordinary art, architecture and customs of classical Tibet. Responding to the denial of the basic human right to practice one’s religion without interference, Tibetan pilgrims visit these legendary sites with a defiant ardor and overt displays of devotion. Vajra Sky: Over Tibet reveals a deliberate policy of Chinese authorities in the 21st century to destroy this 1,500 year old tradition from within, after five decades of attempting to destroy it from the outside. One hears that photos of the Dalai Lama are illegal everywhere in Tibet and learns how the atheist leaders of China are maneuvering to install their own reincarnated Dalai Lama after the present spiritual leader passes away. The empty palaces of the Dalai Lama – the Potala and Norbulinka echo the painful loss of the Tibetan’s own living Buddha. During the Drepung festival, a giant tapestry scroll of the Buddha covers a mountain side as spiritually famished Chinese join with the multitude of Tibetan pilgrims. This closing scene invokes a redemptive vision of renewal within the surviving Buddhist community of Tibet.