Dolpo Tulku: Return to the Himalayas

Tibetan and English
english and czech subtitles

The Tibetan-speaking Dolpo in northwestern Nepal is one of the most isolated regions in the world. Surrounded by the enormous Himalayas, the people of Dolpo live to a large extent without electricity and modern communication and without the pressures of assimilation felt in China or India. The Dolpo, far removed from the Nepalese government, is a place where Buddhist culture
still thrives.

When he was only ten-years-old, the shepherd Sherap Sangpo was recognized as the reincarnation of a highly regarded lama, the Dolpo Tulku. He was sent to the Namdroling convent in southern India for his education. Sixteen years later, he returns to the Nepalese mountains, along with more than 30 monks and nuns, to take up his job as spiritual leader of the deeply religious Dolpo people.

Upon his arrival, Tulku is overwhelmed by the positive reception and the confidence offered to him by the people of the Dolpo. The task as reincarnation of his admired predecessor means an enormous responsibility which he - as a young man of 26 years - has to prove he is up to. Filled with both doubt and respect for his followers, he searches for ways to fulfill the expectations placed on him. He comes up with various plans: strengthening the monastery communities, building a school for Buddhist education of all lines, and most importantly, modernizing the region: Schools here don’t offer Tibetan lessons, healthcare is almost nonexistent, and also there aren’t any roads or any electricity.

By very impressive pictures of the mountains of the Himalaya, by calm and dense observations the movie tells us about the fascinating archaic culture and the people of the Dolpo and the substantial task to oppose the painful poverty: It is about risking a modernisation spiritually founded on the deeply rooted original Buddhism with the sense of community and altruism. The young Dolpo Tulku is facing this task with an enormous dedication, modesty, a surprisingly acute sense of humour and a deeply felt love.