Wednesday, September 3, 2008
In search of Zhang Zhung
Gelek, a Bön monk, accompanied by an American photographer undertakes a journey from Kathmandu to discover for himself the ancient kingdom of Zhang Zhung where the Bön religion flourished centuries ago.
In search of mythical palaces and holy sites, they journey to the shadows of Mount Kailash in far Western Tibet. Along the way they are joined by dhamis (oracles) and shaman priests, and together they make an odd group of contrasting characters.
As they travel through the starkly beautiful landscape of Nepal and Tibet their journey begins to shed light on Bön, a religion different and arguably older than Tibetan Buddhism, though it is largely unknown and neglected. Throughout the pilgrimage Gelek contemplates about what it means to be a Bön monk, struggles with his doubts and seeks to uncover the roots of his religion and identity.
It is a pilgrimage where both the spiritual and temporal realms are fluid realities and obstacles constantly need to be overcome. And while pursuing jeweled palaces and fantastic dreams, Gelek and Tom attempt to strip away their confusion in an attempt to find the essence of Zhang Zhung.