"Angry Monk": An Evening of Film and Poetry

UCLA Asia Institute, May 19, 2007

Los Angeles, USA -- Director Luc Schaedler’s  "Angry Monk: Reflections on Tibet" (2005), which was screened at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, is a documentary about the life of Gendun Choepel (1903-1951), the legendary dissident monk of early 20th-century Tibet who criticized the religious conservatism and cultural isolation of his country.

The cinematic journey through time portrays the life of this unorthodox monk, revealing a face of old Tibet that goes against popular clichés. The film makes an abundance of unique and rare historical footage available to the general public for the first time. But it does not dwell on the past; rather it skilfully oscillates between tradition and modernity.

Archival images of ancient caravans and monasteries give way to scenes of discos and multi-lane highways in Lhasa, where pilgrims prostrate themselves as they circle the holy temple. “Angry Monk” offers a fascinating insight into a country whose eventful past is refracted in the multiplicity and contradictions of everyday life.

Donald S. Lopez, Jr., Arthur E. Link Distinguished University Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies at the University of Michigan, has written and edited over twenty books on Buddhism and Asian religions, including The Madman's Middle Way: Reflections on Reality of the Tibetan Monk Gendun Chopel. He is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Getty Research Institute, working on the topic, "Uses of the Buddha." Prof. Lopez will read his translations of the poetry of Gendun Choepel, accompanied by Khen Rinpoche Kachen Lobzang Tsetan, Abbot of Tashi Lhunpo in Karnataka, India, who will recite the poetry in the original Tibetan.

Khen Rinpoche Kachen Lobzang Tsetan was recently named by the 14th Dalai Lama as the Abbot of Tashi Lhunpo monastery in Karnataka, India. Born in the village of Stok, Ladakh, India, he walked over the Himalayas as a teen to study at Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in Shigatse, Tibet. After completing his Geshe degree (Ph.D. equivalent in Tibetan Buddhist Philosophy) at Drepung Monastery in Southern India, he traveled to the United States in 1978, where he lived and taught at the Tibetan Buddhist Learning Center in Washington, New Jersey for 22 years. He is the Founding Director of the Siddhartha School Project, which sponsors a school for Ladakhi children, and of the Panchen Lama - Tashi Lhunpo Project.

Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Time: 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
314 Royce Hall, UCLA
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Cost: Free
Special Instructions

Seating is limited. RSVP required to egremse@support.ucla.edu or (310)206-7575.

For more information please contact:
Robert Buswell