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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

A leader. A teacher. An inspiration VisionTV presents: The Dalai Lama - a 75th Birthday Tribute, starting July 6

June 22, 2010

Vision TV
June 20, 2010

For as long as space endures And for as long as
living beings remain Until then may I too abide
To dispel the misery of the world -- Daily prayer of the Dalai Lama

He was born on July 6, 1935, to a humble farming
family in northeastern Tibet. He would become one
of the world's most revered individuals: at once
a serene spiritual figure and a symbol of
steadfast opposition to totalitarian rule.

Tenzin Gyatso, better known as His Holiness the
14th Dalai Lama, is the Tibetan spiritual leader
and head of state. Driven from Tibet in 1959,
following an uprising against the Chinese
occupation of the country, he presides over a
government-in-exile in neighbouring India, and
champions the use of non-violence to break China's grip on his native land.

The recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989,
the Dalai Lama is one of the very few world
religious leaders whose message has universal
appeal. Traveling the world to raise awareness of
his country's plight, he has reached out to other
faiths and shared with millions the essentials of
Tibetan Buddhism - a spiritual philosophy
grounded in compassion, tolerance and respect for all life.

Beginning on July 6, multi-faith network VisionTV
celebrates the Dalai Lama's 75th birthday with a
series of documentary and feature film
presentations that examine his life and legacy
and explore the many different aspects of the Buddhist tradition.

For more information on VisionTV programming, please visit

The Dalai Lama: a 75th Birthday Tribute on VisionTV

Documentary - The Path to Shaolin
Tuesday, July 6, 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT
Tim Mrazek, a soft-spoken young husband and
father from Regina, Saskatchewan, is a 32nd
generation Shaolin warrior monk - a master of the
martial art of kung fu. This hour-long
documentary by filmmakers Leif Kaldor and R.
Leslea Mair is the story of how an ordinary guy
from the Canadian prairies became part of an
ancient Zen Buddhist tradition - and of how that
tradition itself is changing and evolving in the
21st century. The film follows Tim on a
pilgrimage to the 1,500-year-old Shaolin Temple
in China. There, as he delves deep into the world
of Chinese kung fu, Tim discovers that his own
search for a place in this tradition is deeply
entwined in the larger question of what the
future holds for the ancient brotherhood of warrior monks.

Documentary - A Year in Tibet: Three Husbands and a Wedding
Tuesday, July 6, 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT
Tibet is one of the most remote places in the
world - and, under Communist Chinese rule, one of
the least accessible. This BBC documentary offers
a rare glimpse of everyday life in the medieval
town of Gyantse, an isolated mountain community
that is home to one of Tibet's most important
monasteries. The hour-long film records the
preparations for the annual harvest, looks in on
a celebration at the monastery, and follows the
frenzied planning of a local wedding - an
occasion that threatens to become less joyous
when the bride learns there is more than one groom.

Documentary - Enigma: The Oracle
Tuesday, July 6, 11 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. PT
Can spirits enter this world by taking possession
of a human body? For 13 generations, the Dalai
Lamas have been advised by the State Oracle of
Tibet, or Nechung, an ancient spirit that has
inhabited a succession of 13 human mediums. To
witness the eerie spectacle of a medium entering
a trance state and being possessed by this spirit
is to confront profound questions about human
consciousness. In this documentary, Canadian
filmmaker David Cherniack offers viewers a rare
glimpse into the secret world of Tibetan oracles.
The hour-long film features an interview with the
Dalai Lama, as well as never-before-seen footage
of his private consultation with the State Oracle.

Documentary - The Teacher
Wednesday, July 7, 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT
Repeats at 1:30 a.m. ET / 10:30 p.m. PT
After fleeing his native Tibet, the 14th Dalai
Lama settled in the northern Indian city of
Dharamsala, which became home to the Tibetan
government-in-exile. And there, for the last 50
years, he has spread his message of compassion
around the world. This beautifully filmed
half-hour production is a documentary portrait of
the Dalai Lama, his teachings, and the Tibetan
community of Dharamsala, now home to tens of
thousands of his fellow exiles. A concise primer
on the essential tenets of Buddhism, The Teacher
features the Dalai Lama conversing on topics such
as the nature of happiness, the value of prayer
and the importance of caring for one's enemies.

Documentary - The Blue Buddha
Wednesday, July 7, 10:30 p.m. ET / 7:30 p.m. PT
More than a thousand years ago, the people of
Tibet developed a comprehensive medical system,
blending Buddhist spirituality with a remarkably
sophisticated understanding of the human body,
and encoded this knowledge in a series of
elaborate paintings. This documentary traces the
odyssey of Tibetan medicine from its distant
roots to the present day, and chronicles the
struggle to preserve this tradition through the tumult of the past century.

Documentary - The Path to Shaolin
Wednesday, July 7, 12:30 a.m. ET / 9:30 p.m. PT
See Tuesday, July 6 at 9 p.m. ET

Movie - Seven Years in Tibet
Thursday, July 8, 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT
Brad Pitt is at his most bronzed and beautiful in
this true story of Heinrich Harrer, an Austrian
mountaineer who befriended the young Dalai Lama.
In 1939, during an expedition to the Himalayas,
Harrer and his team are captured by the British
and spend the next five years in a POW camp.
Escaping with fellow climber Peter Aufschnaiter
(David Thewlis), Harrer makes his way to the
sacred Tibetan city of Lhasa. Fascinated by this
exotic stranger - one of the first Europeans ever
to enter the city - the teenage Dalai Lama
(Jamyang Jamtsho Wangchuk) asks Harrer to tutor
him in the mysterious ways of the outside world.
Jean-Jacques Annaud (The Name of the Rose)
directed, from a script by Becky Johnston (The
Prince of Tides). With B.D. Wong (Law & Order:
SVU) and Mako. The Andean foothills of Argentina
stand in for the Himalayas. John Williams composed the music.

Documentary - The Lost World of Tibet
Friday, July 9, 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT
When the 14th Dalai Lama was born, Tibet was
still a feudal society, largely untouched by the
outside world. The lives of its people were
dominated by the Buddhist faith and its elaborate
rituals and celebrations. All of this would
vanish under the Chinese occupation: monasteries
were destroyed, scriptures burned and religious
festivals banned. This stunning BBC documentary,
presented by British historian Dan Cruickshank,
draws upon rare colour footage from the British
Film Institute to create a portrait of life in
the remote Himalayan kingdom before it fell under
Chinese rule. The hour-long film, which includes
an interview with the Dalai Lama, offers a
haunting look back at a culture and way of life
that have long since been extinguished.
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