Earliest Memory (04:22)
Tashi cannot remember life before coming to Switzerland in 1961 during Chinese the occupation. She and her brother were raised by a childless couple. She reflects on identity issues; although she remained in contact with the Tibetan community, she feels Swiss.
Tibetan Mandala (02:50)
Tashi is involved in assistance projects in Nepal. Learn about the law of cause and effect, the cosmogram, and enlightenment in Buddhist philosophy.
Progressing in the Dharma (03:04)
Tashi helps run a school in Pharping, Nepal. Monks practice debating for mental clarity. When they finish school, most will return to their villages; for now, they prefer studying to physical labor.
Tibetan Buddhism (02:22)
Padmasambhava introduced Buddhism to Tibet, overcoming shaman resistance. Over time, Hinduism, Buddhism and local beliefs fused magic and religion; all agree on enlightenment and reincarnation. Visit a Tara temple.
Western Fantasy of Tibet (04:03)
Padmasambhava legends and Buddhism contribute to romantic visions of an esoteric, spiritual "Shangri-la" prior to Chinese occupation. Many refugees have adapted to this image of themselves. However, it fails to generate a concrete commitment to human rights among Westerners.
Political Limbo (04:20)
Approximately 20,000 Tibetans are illegally in Nepal; the government is under Chinese pressure and does not recognize arrivals after 1989. Residents of a Kathmandu refugee camp lack work or documents. Most hope to immigrate to the West via India.
Choosing Resistance over Resignation (04:36)
In 2006, a climbing expedition documented Chinese troops shooting Tibetan refugees. Younger generations of refugees in Zurich meet to discuss mobilization strategies. Although small, protests abroad encourage resistance; demonstrators march to the Chinese embassy.
Fleeing Tibet (04:50)
Tashi has established contact with her Tibetan family, now refugees in Kathmandu. Through an interpreter, her mother Amala explains how their family escaped Lhasa and why they sent Tashi and her brother to Switzerland to help save Tibetan culture.
Related to His Holiness (03:07)
Refugees celebrate Tibetan New Year. Amala recalls a prayer that helped during her escape from Tibet. Tashi's father is the Dalai Lama's first cousin; her mother is an aristocrat from Lhasa. Monk Drubthob Rinpoche blesses Tashi, who feels responsible for her community.
Surviving Public Torture and Labor Camps (07:35)
After the Dalai Lama fled Lhasa, the Chinese forced Tibetans to kill one another. Learn about Drubthob Rinpoche’s role in resisting the Chinese occupation and upholding Buddhist beliefs. He survived seven days without food or water by meditating.
Kathmandu Refugee Community (05:47)
Nepal suffers from poverty and corruption after civil war. Monks create a mandala finding the symbolic center of the universe. Water access is a challenge for elderly charity home residents; they pray together and wish to die in Tibet.
Losing Hope for Tibet (04:05)
Refugees no longer speak of self-determination. Over one million Tibetans have died since invasion in 1950; the Dalai Lama has asked Switzerland to mediate a dialogue with China. Learn about the mandala's ritual symbolism. Tibetan culture persists beyond its former borders.
Credits: Prisoners of Bejing and Shangri-la (01:01)
Credits: Prisoners of Bejing and Shangri-la
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