DER Documentary

Bön: Mustang to Menri

by Andrea Heckman, Rose Gordon, Tad Fettig
color, 60 min, 2011



Non-profit, K-12, and Individual pricing also available
See pricing information and conditions

“Bön is Tibet's oldest spiritual tradition and, as the indigenous source of Tibetan culture, played a significant role in shaping Tibet's unique identity. Consequently, I have often stressed the importance of preserving this tradition.” — His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama

Bön: Mustang to Menri tells the story of Asonam, a 10 yr. old boy, who made a journey from his homeland, the ancient kingdom of Mustang (now part of Nepal) to Menri Monastery in Northern India. There Asonam made the commitment to become a Geshe, equivalent to a PhD, and after 13 additional years of education in languages, philosophy, debate, and Bön traditions he achieved this goal.

Decades after leaving his village, Asonam returns with the education, skill and will to answer a critically emerging need of the people of Mustang, those who follow Bön as well as those who follow other religious paths, by establishing a cultural center that will support and encourage the sustainability of their ancient and traditional heritage.

Asonam's life is interwoven with the story of Bön and the efforts of the 33rd Abbot of Menri, who built Menri Monastery in Northern India after the destruction of the old Menri monastery in Tibet. This remarkable Abbot, as the head of an ancient lineage for over forty years, has orchestrated the preservation of Tibetan Bön culture and the education of thousands of monks, nuns and Bön children. He granted his approval and blessings with access to the monastery for this project.

Filmed on location in Mustang, Nepal and Menri Monastery, India, the story illuminates the interconnectedness of education, commitment to service and spiritual dedication. It communicates Bön's story and unique place in history while illuminating how and why the work that monks do is important to the modern world. It is a universal message, one that reveals how inspired individuals can overcome challenges and adversity to order to have a positive impact on the world while giving back to the people, places and traditions that nurtured them.

In the current age of wars and turmoil, this is a relevant and uplifting story of lasting traditions that are meaningful in the modern world with values that potentially can inspire us and help us transcend our global challenges.

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Silver Palm Award, Mexico International Film Festival, 2012
25th International Mountain & Adventure Film Festival Graz, Austria, 2013
10th Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival, 2012
San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, 2012
Edmund Hillary Award, Mountain Film Festival, 2012
Rubin Museum of Himalayan Art, New York City, 2012
American Anthropology Association Film and Media Festival, Montreal, 2011
Taos USA Premier, 2011

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