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Blessings: The Tsoknyi Nangchen Nuns of Tibet (2009)

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In Tibet, the word for woman translates as "lower rebirth." In a remote eastern region of the country, the Tsoknyi Nangchen nuns defy this definition. Devoted to the ancient practices of ... See full summary »


Victress Hitchcock


Victress Hitchcock (screenplay)


Richard Gere



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Richard Gere ... Himself


In Tibet, the word for woman translates as "lower rebirth." In a remote eastern region of the country, the Tsoknyi Nangchen nuns defy this definition. Devoted to the ancient practices of Tibetan Buddhism - once primarily a male domain - over 3,000 nuns have attained elevated status. Director Victress Hitchcock honors them in this moving documentary, which follows the journey of a small group of Western women to remote mountain hermitages to meet these nuns. Buddhist teacher and spiritual leader Tsoknyi Rinpoche III leads the group, imparts his knowledge, and bridges the gap between cultures. Narrated by Richard Gere, Blessings explains the Tibetan Buddhist monastic system and the changing role of women within it, incorporating historic black-and-white footage from the 1960s Cultural Revolution of the People's Republic of China, when all forty Nangchen nunneries were destroyed. Many of the nuns were imprisoned in work camps; others scattered back to their nomadic families. A few ... Written by Starz Denver Film Festival

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Release Date:

14 November 2009 (USA) See more »

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Production Co:

Chariot Productions See more »
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compared with Avitar
5 July 2010 | by joandinsSee all my reviews

We saw this film first within a week of Avitar. We considered both movies as pointing to a new way of life. Avitar had animated images pursuing simplistic, though worthy, goals; all make believe and contrived. "Blessings" had real people creating their universe and then recreating it after their monasteries were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution.

The austere lives of the nuns are balanced by their gratitude. They are happy to learn from the surviving exiles, the Buddhist scriptures, and from the belief that their "compassionate prayers for all sentient beings" really work.

The interactions between the nuns and the surrounding community has transformed that remote area into a peaceful place. People are drawn to them for healing.

The group of serious meditating women traveled with lama Tsoknyi Rinpoche III who is the third reincarnation of the founder of the 19th-century movement that enabled women become respected nuns. The women travelers appeared nearly overcome by the hardships they themselves endured and by the serenity and happiness of the nuns in the midst of (albeit colorful) deprivation.

A truly inspiring movie.

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