‘Iron Bird Flies’ onto Colonial screen

Nov 06, 2013
In a scene from the film "When the Iron Bird Flies," Anam Thubten meets with a student at Dhyana Hall in Point Richmond, Calif.

Belfast — The 2012 documentary "When the Iron Bird Flies: Tibetan Buddhism Arrives in the West” will be screened Monday, Nov. 18, at 6:30 p.m. at the Colonial Theatre, 163 High St. Suggested donation is $5 to $10, but no one turned away. Yummy baked goods will be sold to help defray costs of the screening.

The film’s title comes from the eighth century, when Guru Padmasambhava of Tibet said “When the iron bird flies and horses run on wheels, the Tibetan people will be scattered like ants across the face of the earth.” In 1959, the Chinese invasion of Tibet threw open the doors to the mysterious realm of Tibetan Buddhism and suddenly this rich, ancient tradition was propelled into the modern world. Half a century later, Padmasambhava’s prophecy has come true and the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism are found in every corner of the earth.

“When the Iron Bird Flies” takes viewers on an up-close and personal journey following the astounding path of one of the world's great spiritual traditions from the caves of Tibet to the mainstream of Western culture. Along the way, the film tackles the provocative exchanges between Buddhist practitioners and scholars and Western scientists, psychologists, and educators now at the heart of the emergence of a genuine Western tradition of Buddhism. And the film asks if, in these increasingly challenging times, these age-old teachings can help us find genuine happiness and create a saner, more compassionate 21st-century world.

Through candid interviews with contemporary teachers and practitioners, rare archival footage and striking images of modern life that illuminate and make accessible the Buddha’s core teachings, the film creates a vivid and entertaining portrait of the world of Tibetan Buddhism, as it is manifesting in America and the West.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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