Blessings, Saturday

Press release

Posted by
Wed, March 24, 2010


On Saturday March 27, The Visionary Edge will present a sneak preview screening of Blessings: The Tsoknyi Nangchen Nuns of Tibet. In the summer of 2005, renowned Buddhist teacher, Tsoknyi Rinpoche III, accompanied by a handful of western students, traveled to the Nangchen region in Eastern Tibet. The purpose of the trip was to document the lives and assess the needs of the Tsoknyi Nangchen Nuns - 3000 remarkable women who live and practice an ancient yogic tradition in nunneries and hermitages scattered across this remote, mountainous region.

BLESSINGS: The Tsoknyi Nangchen Nuns of Tibet tells the story of this extraordinary journey. Narrated by Richard Gere, the film explores the unique world of the nuns who study under Tsoknyi Rinpoche’s guidance. Their lives are seen through the eyes of the western women who accompanied Tsoknyi Rinpoche to Nangchen and are attempting to make their own link with the often strange, but hauntingly familiar, world of Tibetan Buddhism. In Nangchen, an isolated corner of Tibet, more than 3000 nuns in 53 nunneries are practicing an ancient yogic tradition, carrying on a thousand year old unbroken chain of spiritual transmission.  Some have practiced in retreat for more than 50 years.  Many have mastered practices of the most adept spiritual teachers of Tibet.  When meeting these remarkable women, one is touched by their love and compassion which is the heart of all Buddhist practice.

Babysitting will be provided for $5 per child for the evening with a 24 hour advance reservation. Call 650-207-3440. Saturday, March 27th. Doors will open at 7:00pm, event begins at 7:30. Community United Methodist Church, 777 Miramontes Street (at Johnston), HMB. Suggested donation $10 advance, $15 door. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Call 650-207-3440 for information and reservations.

 

Trailer for Blessings

 

 

 

Founded in the early 1800’s by Tsoknyi Rinpoche I, this robust system of nunneries for deep retreat remains virtually unparalleled in religious history. Tosknyi Rinpoche I envisioned a time when these nuns would be among the most outstanding spiritual practitioners in the world. With the support of Tsoknyi Rinpoche III, the nuns are dedicated to rebuilding their nunneries and continuing their way of life.

According to Tsoknyi Rinpoche “You can’t just print 100,000 copies of a realized nun—it takes 20, 30 or 40 years. It can only be created through long-term commitment. Without underestimating the value of books, the wisdom of the Buddha can only be truly preserved through realization. Supporting the Nuns is important because doing so supports a lifeline of realization.”

Virtually all of the 3000 Nuns live without electricity, heat or running water in a very rugged climate with brutally cold winters. An analogy could be the wisdom of preserving rare and endangered plants in a rainforest that have the potential to heal and cure many people.

They have the experiential wisdom to teach us how to transform ignorance and hatred into wisdom and love. They have an inner wealth that we can experience when we meet them personally or even by seeing the film. This quality can only be described as inspirational. Due to the difficulties they have endured, they can also show us how to live authentically and joyfully in the midst of hardship and loss.

Compelling interviews with Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo and Tsultrim Allione place the practice of Nangchen nuns in the context of the largely male dominated history of Buddhism in Tibet. Tsoknyi Rinpoche III tells the remarkable story of the first Tsoknyi Rinpoche, whose revolutionary vision of women receiving the same teachings as men initiated the lineage of Tsoknyi Nangchen nuns more than a century ago. During the Cultural Revolution, all 40 nunneries of this thriving tradition were destroyed and the nuns scattered. Some returned to their nomadic homes, some were sent to work camps. Many didn’t survive. But a few retreated into caves to practice and wait. Twenty years later, this handful of remaining nuns emerged and began to rebuild. The film shows the reconstruction of the nunneries and explores the lives of the growing numbers of nuns who have come together and are now living and practicing together in nunneries, large and small, across Nangchen. The women speak about why they became nuns and what it is like to live a life dedicated to spiritual practice. We see the exchange between them and the western women who have come to offer their help and who find their lives immeasurably enriched by the wisdom, simplicity and good humor of the Nangchen nuns.

BLESSINGS explores the roots of the nuns wisdom and compassion and shows how we, as ordinary human beings seeking happiness in a modern world, can find that same thread of sanity and inner strength in the everyday confusion of our lives. The film speaks to anyone interested in simplifying and transforming their minds and lives in a world that is increasingly chaotic.  It inspires all of us….women and men…to overcome the limitations of our fears and hesitations and to open ourselves to the blessings of a full and authentic life.


DVDs of Blessings: The Tsoknyi Nangchen Nuns of Tibet will be available for sale at the event. Joining us for the evening, Ram Subedi of Half Moon Bay’s Maya Devi Imports will demonstrate Tibetan Singing Bowls and Skull Bowl Healing starting at 7:00pm.  Maya Devi Imports will host a market stall displaying indigenous arts and crafts from Tibet and Nepal. This event will be co-hosted by The Visionary Edge and Community United Methodist Church, and sponsored by Mike Schelp of San Mateo Coast Properties.  Said Vanderpool of The Visionary Edge “We are hoping to find corporate and professional sponsors for this series so we can bring future events to the community without charge.  The topics are important and the events are great opportunities for growth, learning, and tool gathering, as well as for developing community and support networks.”

Babysitting will be provided for $5 per child for the evening with a 24 hour advance reservation. Call 650-207-3440. Saturday, March 27th. Doors will open at 7:00pm, event begins at 7:30. Community United Methodist Church, 777 Miramontes Street (at Johnston), HMB. Suggested donation $10 advance, $15 door. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Call 650-207-3440 for information and reservations.

Located in Half Moon Bay, The Visionary Edge produces events to inform, inspire, and empower us all to create a wiser, sustainable and more compassionate world.

Running time:  90 minutes