In 1959 the Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet escaped from his Chinese occupied homeland to India, inspiring 120,000 of his countrymen to follow him. Working hard to rebuild their lives and preserve their distinctive and timeless culture and lifestyle, these people, from difficult beginnings, have become arguably the most successful refugee community in the world.
Nowadays the Tibetans have to fear for the preservation of their culture since the constantly growing Chinese population is rapidly crowding out the native Tibetans.
The latter are often no longer able to practice their religion unhindered, an essential element of their native culture.
The film describes a colorful culture in which secular and spiritual powers are in the same hands. This concentration of the Dalai Lama's power becomes visible in the fortifications overlooking the city of Lhasa in Potala.
Furthermore, pictures from Katmandu show how the old customs and traditions, threatened by extinction in their land of origin Tibet, are surviving among the Tibetans in exile.
Poet, scholar, philosopher, and master of Vajrayana (Tibetan) Buddhism, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche led a life of profound dedication to spiritual enlightenment and teaching. During the final fourteen years of his life his personal assistant was Matthieu Ricard. Together they traveled throughout Tibet, Bhutan, India, and Nepal, returning to the places of Khyentse Rinpoche's youth: his birthplace in Eastern Tibet; the monastery of Shechen which he had entered at the age of eleven; and the retreats where he spent years in meditation and study. At every stop on his journey, Khyentse Rinpoche was welcomed with elaborate ceremonies and outpourings of devotion.
"Khyentse Rinpoche was a model for all other holders of the teachings. We should not only admire his inconceivable knowledge, wisdom, and accomplishment, but, more importantly, we should follow his example and emulate those qualities ourselves. The Buddha's teachings are of enormous value for everyone, not only to dedicated practitioners but to lay people, too, and we must try our best to practice and implement them, and to emulate the great teachers who have followed him."-- His Holiness the Dalai Lama, from his Remembrance.