Sacred Sites of the Dalai Lama: A Pilgrimage to the Oracle Lake

THE SACRED SITES OF THE DALAI LAMAS: A PILGRAMAGE TO THE ORACLE LAKE explores a rare glimpse of monasteries, caves and sacred sites where the early Dalai Lamas and the founders of Buddhism meditated, taught and achieved enlightenment.

The film follows the spiritual quest of Steve Dancz (composer for National Geographic TV who also narrates and composed the film's score), led by translator Glenn Mullin (Tibetologist and author of over 30 books on Buddhism) and Khenpo Tashi (a Bhutanese monk) on a pilgrimage to many of Tibet's most holy sites culminating in a trek over 17,000 feet in altitude to the hard-to-reach mystical Oracle Lake where every Dalai Lama has had prophetic visions.

Despite the on-going conflicts in the region the film reflects the warmth, joy and spirit of its people steeped in Buddhist traditions. With hardships including altitude sickness, lost guides, makeshift sleeping accommodations and harsh weather; Dancz, Mullin, Tashi and crew traveled under the radar with a skeleton crew to access these sacred sites, most now inaccessible to the public; many of these sites are under Chinese occupation and filming had to remain covert with a hand held DV camera.

The rare look at these sites allows viewers an intimate window into some of the most sacred Buddhist rituals, ceremonies and traditions in the region. The sites include: The Jokhang. In the mid-7th century King Songtsen Gampo made Buddhism the national religion. The king built Tibets first Buddhist temples including the most sacred, The Jokhang. Drepung Monastery. The great center of Dharma knowledge this monastery was the principal residence in the Lhasa area for the 2nd Dalai Lama and for subsequent Dalai Lamas who followed. For more than 500 years, tens of thousands of monks received rigorous trainings here in the fundamental texts by the early Indian masters of Buddhist.Drak Yerpa Valley. One of the most popular pilgrimage and practice sites for Tibetan Buddhists of all lineages. It features over 500 meditation caves.Tashi Lumpo.

The First Dalai Lamas monastery in Shigatese and is also the monastery of the Panchen Lama. It is very holy because it houses several statues created by the hand of the First Dalai Lama.Chokhor Gyal Monastery. Until only a few decades ago it was the 2nd Dalai Lamas greatest creation. It was demolished and its vast collection of priceless artworks were destroyed and stolen a 500 year institution reduced to rubble.Other sacred sites featured in the documentary include: Nechung, The caves of Songsten Gampo, Jowo Atisha, Samye Monastery,Yambhu Lagang Castle, Ani Sanku Nunnery, Lama Tsongkhapa Meditation Cave, Tranduk Kangyur Stupa, Mindroling, Champa Zhishi , Sakya and Milarepas Cave.

THE SACRED SITES OF THE DALAI LAMAS first showing was for the 14th Dalai Lama, currently living in exile in India, who requested a DVD of the film. We presume he wanted to see his homeland again, says filmmaker Wiese. Filmmaker Michael Wiese one of the top film book publishers in the world and is best known for publishing over 100 how to books on every aspect of the filmmaking process. The film has screened in selected U. S. cites including the Tibet House in New York City, as well as, at Tibet Foundation (London) in celebration of the Dalai Lamas birthday, The International Buddhist Film Festival, and the Atlanta Film Festival among others including the Cornwall Film Festival and Celtic Film Festival in Europe.