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Paths of the Soul

Date: 
Saturday, March 10, 2018 - 19:00 to 22:00
All day: 
no

March 10, 2018
Paths of the Soul
With Yang Pei, Nyima Zadui, Tsewang Dolkar, Tsring Chodron, Seba Jiangcuo, Renqing Wangyal, Dawa Tashi, Jiangcuo Wangdui, Rigzin Jigme, Mu Qu, Gyatso, Dingzi Dengda, Suolang Nima
Directed by Zhang Yang, 2015
115 minutes
Discussant: Meghan Searl, Psy. D.

Journeying in all kinds of weather for 750 miles across the Tibetan plateau for seven months on a pilgrimage to Lhasa is a good definition of demanding. Doing full prostrations—literally diving onto the ground while sliding forward on thick wooden blocks that protect the hands and full aprons of animal skin that protect the torso—well, that accentuates the definition. Each prostration entails three preliminary claps of the hands—signs of taking refuge in the “Three Jewels” of the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha while one simultaneously and silently speaks words of refuge to oneself. The entire journey, therefore, is made largely without talking during the actual periods of travel. And yet, this film depicts a journey that is unparalleled in its ordinariness. These are ordinary Tibetans doing what their forebears have ordinarily done for generations. And for what? The explicit goal of such pilgrimages in the Tibetan Buddhist canon is to pray for the well-being and happiness of others. There is a destination (or destinations) for the journey, but the real destination is the inner sanctum in which one gives oneself over to the practice of journeying itself. This film is a glimpse into a different way of doing and being than those with which we are familiar. It is definitely worth a look.

Learning Objectives: At the end of this event, participants will be able to:

  1. explain the phrase “Journey without Goal”
  2. explain the difference between the paramita (transcendant virtue) of exertion and ordinary effort
  3. define the sense of journey (or lack thereof) in their own lives.