Help us document the untold story of the Jonang, a Buddhist tradition nestled deep in the eastern mountains of Tibet.
This feature-length documentary tells the story of the Jonang, capturing on film for the first time a distinct tradition of Buddhism that was thought by many to be lost, but is now appearing to the world outside of its remote enclaves in far eastern Tibet. It narrates the history of the Jonang Buddhist tradition, from our settling in central Tibet in the thirteenth century to our migration across the plateau and resettling in eastern Tibet from the mid-seventeenth century up to the present-day.
We will share rare footage of this living tradition, our monastic and pilgrimage sites, art and artifacts, interviews with elder Jonang meditation masters, and discussions with scholars. Special attention will be given to our unique spiritual heritage as knowledge-holders of the Kalachakra Tantra and zhentong meditative view.
While the breadth of content we wish to cover may require more than one single month-long journey this summer, the construction of this documentary will begin immediately upon the return of the Whispering Mountains team, and updates of its progress shared liberally with all supporters. The final production of this documentary, set to be a feature-length 90-120 minutes, will be distributed through film festivals and to universities with Asian studies and related programs.
With ever-improving advancements in the realm of digital photography and cinematography, capturing high-quality content has never been so affordable or portable. The Whispering Mountains team will be utilizing the new Canon 5D Mark III DSLR camera, capable of capturing crisp 1080p video even in the lowest of lighting situations, along with a range of sharp, professional lenses, audio equipment and support. It is a camera package that is at the same time both powerful and discreet. Previous fundraising efforts have afforded us this fantastic system.
Your contribution will go towards travel costs and on-the-ground transportation. There has been so much support poured into this project already — all we need is the last little bit to get us there!
Any funding that exceeds the initial minimum will go towards additional camera gear, post-production costs, and future filming in the field.
The Jonang Tradition
Established in Central Tibet during the late 13th century, the Jonang tradition of Tibetan Buddhism is an unbroken lineage of successive transmissions from the time of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni. Though the Jonang were considered by Western scholars to have been extinct since the 17th century persecution, and were thought to have assimilated into alternative Tibetan Buddhist traditions such as the Nyingma, Sakya, and Kagyu, the Jonang survived as a distinct tradition.
In the 1960’s, many of the great living exemplars of the Jonang were forced out of their monasteries and fled into the countryside of Amdo, where they wandered as nomads or took shelter in caves as yogis. Over the next two decades, the Jonangpa lived without homes in their homeland, gathering during the summer for the annual rains-retreat in order to continue to transmit the lineage. After the Cultural Revolution in 1976, the Jonangpa began returning to the monasteries, where we have been rebuilding and reviving our unique spiritual tradition.
The Jonang continue transmitting our vital views and practices from the Kalachakra Tantra or Wheel of Time Continuum, while sustaining a unique understanding of mind and reality known as zhentong. As the exclusive holders of the six-fold Vajrayoga of the Kalachakra completion stage, and the distinctive zhentong meditative view, this little-known tradition undoubtedly offers a fuller perspective on the whole of Buddhism.
The New Jonang Buddhist Community in Texas has offered to match up to $500 in new pledges for this documentation project. Please visit http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/799021380/whispering-mountains-the-living-presence-of-the-jo to make a pledge, if at all possible, and let us know as well.
thu-jhe-che (Thank you!)The New Jonang Buddhist Community thanks the Jonang Foundation for the photos of Jomonang and Takten Puntsok Ling that grace our English- and Spanish-language blogs.