"...Rinpoche shot the film Travellers and Magicians in Bhutan in 2002, but on Vara he seems more in charge. His vision is stronger, there is more artistic flow. One of the Executive Producers, David Urrutia (Meek’s Cutoff, Jesus’ Son), is on set and sees Rinpoche and cinematographer Bradford Young as an exciting match. 'They are feeding each other’s creativity. They are interested in the same things. You see Rinpoche’s artistic vision, but enhanced.' The head of continuity expresses concern about not getting coverage; they haven’t set up any establishing shots, no wide angles. But Rinpoche and Young are in agreement. Leave it like that. Lila's hands say everything that needs to be said..." READ MORE
Essay on pilgrimage to Bodhgaya reprinted in the acclaimed series by Philip Zaleski. (Penguin Books, 2012)
"...The all-knowing rickshaw driver is standing outside the gate; I slip by him, deciding to walk the long way to the temple, through the Indian village. There is a plot of land next to a school, covered in garbage, and in that garbage stands a spavined mule and about ten geese. The geese have been painted fluorescent pink. “You have like this in America?” asks a man wearing a vest that looks as if it has been hewn from the pelt of a slain Muppet, Fozzie Bear, perhaps. “Sort of,” I say. “Like this size or big size? Big size, or small size?” He shows me different sizes and I say, “Yes. No. Yes.” He seemed very pleased with this answer. There are wild hogs, baby goats, naked children with lice leaping from their heads as garbage burns in small piles. It is said in sacred texts that Bodhgaya is going to be the last place left on earth when the universe is destroyed. Even if I hang around here, I will be a goner. But these families living in tents, cooking with motor oil as fluorescent pink geese crap in the drinking water, might not even notice. Life is an apocalypse. I bow down to them..." PURCHASE BOOK HERE. Read original article in Tricycle Magazine HERE.
"It is a daunting task, trying to capture a sublime being on the page. In fact, in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, if someone is to compose a namtar—a biography—the writer must have certain enlightened qualities equal to that of his subject. This is not a namtar, and I have none of his qualities, but nonetheless I will make an attempt to describe E. Gene Smith of Ogden, Utah, a very great man..." READ MORE
"A co-worker calls in 'sick,' leaving you to work late on a Friday – will you be snippy on Monday? Your partner forgets your birthday – do you let it ruin your week? A relative embarrasses you at a dinner party by telling a humbling story from your past. Disinherit them? Every day we are given opportunities to exercise forgiveness but we’re often loathe to do so, simply because it feels as if we’re handing over our power to someone who has hurt us. To forgive, we think, is to let the other side win. But experts say that’s a misconception..." READ MORE
"Recently I was invited to spend the weekend at a family dairy farm in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia. My hosts greeted me with a banquet—prepackaged sweet n’ sour tofu with boiled carrots for me, burgers and steaks for them. Like many people, they assumed that since I am a student of Buddhism I must be a vegetarian, which I am for the most part. But I was tempted by those steaks, and the next morning when the house filled with the smell of bacon, much to their amusement, I found myself unable to resist. Pigs are gentle, smart, and proud, and they have an alarming similarity to humans when it comes to DNA. But I decided to eat that crispy piece of pig, thinking I was doing it as part of my Buddhist practice, not in spite of it..." READ MORE.
"A sense of selflessness and oneness, sometimes called the 'flow' or being in the zone, is a common feature of the transcendent athletic experience. Team players rally as a single unit; pair skaters appear as a graceful four-legged creature; a kung fu master becomes his sword. For surfer Rob Machado it is the ocean; for Chris Sharma it is rocks. Steep, sheer, awesome—some would even say unforgiving—rocks..." READ MORE
"Upon leaving the Kingdom of Bhutan after a three-month stay, I had a bit of extra padding around my waist. One similarly soft-bellied Bhutanese friend called it a 'second story'—a soft layer above what had already existed. But unlike other pounds that have come and gone, I felt a fondness for my new middle: this was the butter of Bhutan lingering at my hips. Memories of tasty meals with new friends, spectacular banquets and spontaneous picnics were stored in my new folds of flesh and I wore them with affection..." READ MORE.
"Spring is blossom season in Japan. Drifts of petals like snow decorate the parks and streets. On May 15, 1995, in this season of renewal, venerable Zen master Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi-roshi wrote an inka poem bestowing a final seal of approval to his senior disciple, Tetsugen Glassman-Sensei, the “eldest son” of the White Plum sangha, placed it in an envelope and gave it to his brothers. Hours later, before dawn broke over the trees of Tokyo, Maezumi-roshi drowned..." READ MORE
"On September 22, 2002, Druk Air Flight KB 121 from Bangkok landed at Bhutan’s only airport with some very precious cargo. In addition to 578 solid gold biscuits hidden in the shoes of several international smugglers seated in back, a number of professional filmmakers were on board with their kits, ready to make Travellers and Magicians, a Bhutanese road movie directed by the only known reincarnate lama cum auteur filmmaker, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche.
The crew was greeted at the airport and taken to a nearby guest house while the Royal Bhutan Police swooped in and arrested the smugglers. The incident would seem a mere coincidence, a bit of color, had the investigation not put Paro’s airport customs office at a standstill. Travellers and Magicians’ production company Prayer Flag Pictures was expecting DHL shipments weighing over 1,500 kilos containing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of filmmaking equipment..." READ MORE.
"Faces are buffed raw by gusts of wind and sand, hair has gone white with dust, it’s dark, it’s cold, we are three hours from home in an uninhabited desert outpost, it’s six a.m. and no one has slept. The ravers insist that 'it’s all good.' But it's not all good. Not this time. An estimated 5,000 people answered the call to 'Dune IV' on June 6, driving to the Torres-Martinez reservation on the border of Nevada for twelve hours of heart pounding, soul vibrating revelry. Aptly located near the town of Mecca, the site drew a devoted congregation of a community defined and inspired by it’s progressive house and trance music. One never made it home..." READ MORE
"The stork brings new babies, leprechauns hoard pots of gold, tooth faeries keep track of our molars…and little elves come in after we leave the office with pointy caps and whistles, they wave magic wands and effortlessly wastebaskets empty, carpets are swept and coffee cups sparkle, ready to be mucked up again the next day. Strict nine-to-fivers rarely see these elves or even contemplate their existence. But if you find yourself working late one night, you just might catch a glimpse. And if you believe that, maybe you also believe that it’s possible to raise a family on minimum wage..."
"On July 9, demonstrators filled the streets of Tel Aviv drawn by word of mouth, underground radio and bits of paper. The politics of this massive gathering had nothing to do with military borders and everything to do with broadening the frontiers of the mind. 'Give Trance a Chance' was the motto of the Right To Party rave which drew about 13,000 people to a public square in Israel’s most cosmopolitan city. Crowds have come to this same square to celebrate victories, listen to historic speeches and weep over of slain leaders. It was renamed Rabin Square after the blood of Itsak Rabin spilled down its steps only a couple of years ago. But on this night all that spilled were thundering soundwaves and tangerine streaks of light from a Mediterranean sunset, the harbinger of a gigantic full moon. And people. Thousands of beautiful, healthy looking, smiley, blissful people spilling into the square..."