Angry Monk: Reflections on Tibet

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Born in Tibet in 1903, Gendun Choepel was a Buddhist monk who was believed to be the reincarnation of a respected holy man and began his religious education at the age of four. But while Choepel was a man of great faith, he was also an intelligent individual with a critical nature and he discovered his willingness to question both Buddhist teachings and the policies of the Tibetan leadership earned him few friends in his homeland, especially as the Chinese government began its stranglehold on Tibetan affairs. Choepel gave up his life as a monk to pursue secular education in India; his writings and art earned him an international reputation as a man of talent and wisdom, but when he returned to Tibet, he found the land of his birth to be a far more restrictive place than when he left, and his willingness to voice his opinions had tragic consequences -- he was charged with inciting political discord and died in prison in 1951. With time, Choepel became a symbol of the intellectual and spiritual freedom that was lost in Tibet when China took hold of the country, and Swiss filmmaker Luc Schaedler uses Choepel's story as a framework for examining a little-understood side of Tibet and Buddhism in the documentary Angry Monk: Reflections on Tibet. Angry Monk received its North American premiere at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi


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