Geshe Lobsang Yoten: "Journey from Zanskar: A Monka Vows to Children"
Synopsis of film:
Journey from Zanskar tells the heroic, remarkable tale of two Buddhist monks and 17 children as they travel by foot, horse, yak, jeep and bus, risking their lives simply to go to a school in their own tradition. This film shows what a group of Zanskari children must endure simply to preserve the legacy of their people. Capturing their commitment to culture, Journey from Zanskar is an emotionally driven documentary that is best represented in the words of a mother: “Sometimes, you have to give up your children in order to save them.”
Geshe Lobsang Yoten was born in Zanskar, a remote part of northern India that is historically and ethnically Tibetan. At the age of ten he chose to become a monk and joined the local monastery. Upon completing the exams at his local monastery he travelled to South India to begin the twenty-six year program of scholarly study to become a Lharampa Geshe at Drepung Gomang Monastery. This degree is the highest monastic degree in the Gelug School of Buddhism. Upon becoming a Geshe and taking the Bodhisattva vows of compassion, the Dalai Lama asked Geshe Yonten what he would do as his service to others. Geshe Yonten, knowing the importance of the Himalayan region to the survival of the Tibetan Buddhism and its Tibetan Culture, chose to take on the responsibility of educating the children of Zanskar and the surrounding regions of Ladakh. Zanskar is one of the last places on earth where the original Tibetan Buddhist way of life still exists. In 2003, Geshe Yonten brought the first group of children from Zanskar to Tibetan schools in India to receive an education. These schools provide a modern education, while preserving the language, values, and inner learning that mark the traditional Tibetan education. The 2010 film “Journey from Zanskar: a Monks Vow to Children” produced and directed by Academy and Emmy nominated filmmaker Frederick Marx (Hoop Dreams) and narrated by Richard Gere chronicles one of these yearly journeys that Geshe Yonten makes with the children.