Movie review: The Sacred Sites of the Dalai Lamas: A Pilgrimage to the Oracle Lake

Via Todd Mayville
on Aug 31, 2008
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The Sacred Sites of the Dalai Lamas: A Pilgrimage to the Oracle Lake is a rather rare film when it comes to movies about Tibet. The vast majority of films address the current political and social situation in Tibet, and so Tibet and its people tend to almost become a backdrop to what has been and is happening in that magnificent country. This movie is a definite exception to that rule. Filmmaker Michael Wiese has instead created a work of art that instead focuses on the country of Tibet and the amazing resilience of the Tibetans in the face of extraordinary and horrific circumstances, leading the viewer to a greater appreciation for the landscape and the example that the Dalai Lamas and all of the Tibetan people have set for the rest of us to follow.

In spite of the presence of a Chinese guide and a government-approved itinerary, Wiese was able to capture thought-provoking footage by not actually bringing along a film crew, likely reducing his chances of having his work confiscated by government officials in spite of filming some material that could have been considered rather sensitive.

The journey through Tibet took Wiese and his companions, including monk Khenpo Tashi, to a variety of sites, from the Potala Palace to the caves of Guru Rinpoche to Milarepa’s Cave and finally to Oracle Lake, where it is said nearly every Dalai Lama (the present one excepted) has experienced prophetic visions. Among the special features are an interview with Khenpo Tashi and a music video by Steve Dancz. The Sacred Sites of the Dalai Lamas: A Pilgrimage to the Oracle Lake is an outstanding work of art, and should be included on the list of “must see” films for anyone interested in Buddhism, Tibet, or Tibetan culture and its people. Available from Michael Wiese Books or



About Todd Mayville

Todd is a single dad of four diverse and lively kids, and is an English teacher and climbing team coach at a local public high school. A rock climber, cyclist and avid reader, Todd also practices yoga and meditation as often as he possibly can, which helps him stay at least a little centered and sane.


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