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The Mystery of a Buryat Lama


 
The documentary film «THE MYSTERY OF A BURYAT LAMA», directed by Elena Demidova, tells a story of one of the most famous lamas, Pandido Khambo Lama Dashi Dorzho Itigelov. His body is recognized as one of the sacred Buddhist objects of Russia and is being kept in the Ivolginsky Datsan. The Buddhist monks approach him as a living person.
 
Itigelov was born in 1852 and began his religious education at the age of sixteen years. In 1911, he was appointed the twelfth Pandido Khambo Lama as the Head of Russian Buryat Buddhists. Between 1913 and 1917, Itigelov was prominent in the spiritual life of Russian Empire. He took part in the Tercentenary celebrations of the House Romanov and opened first Buddhist temple in St. Petersburg. During First World War Itigelov presided over the society of "Buryat brothers", an organization helping the Russian army. After October Revolution, Itigelov resigned as head of the Buddhists. In 1927, aged seventy-five years, he asked other lamas to begin meditation ceremonies and funeral rites, since he said he was about to die. Itigelov left a testament asking to be buried as he was at the time of his death, sitting in lotus posture. On September 11, 2002, Itigelov's body was eventually exhumed in the presence of the leaders of the Buddhist Traditional Sangha of Russia and transferred to Ivolginsky Datsan.

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The Mystery of a Buryat Lama - Synopsis

Russia, 93 min, 2018 I  Trailer I Ask for a screener

Summary

 

The documentary film «THE MYSTERY OF A BURYAT LAMA», directed by Elena Demidova, tells a story of one of the most famous lamas, Pandido Khambo Lama Dashi Dorzho Itigelov. His body is recognized as one of the sacred Buddhist objects of Russia and is being kept in the Ivolginsky Datsan. The Buddhist monks approach him as a living person.

 

Itigelov was born in 1852 and began his religious education at the age of sixteen years. In 1911, he was appointed the twelfth Pandido Khambo Lama as the Head of Russian Buryat Buddhists. Between 1913 and 1917, Itigelov was prominent in the spiritual life of Russian Empire. He took part in the Tercentenary celebrations of the House Romanov and opened first Buddhist temple in St. Petersburg. During First World War Itigelov presided over the society of "Buryat brothers", an organization helping the Russian army. After October Revolution, Itigelov resigned as head of the Buddhists. In 1927, aged seventy-five years, he asked other lamas to begin meditation ceremonies and funeral rites, since he said he was about to die. Itigelov left a testament asking to be buried as he was at the time of his death, sitting in lotus posture. On September 11, 2002, Itigelov's body was eventually exhumed in the presence of the leaders of the Buddhist Traditional Sangha of Russia and transferred to Ivolginsky Datsan.

 

The film crew visited places related to the life of XII Pandido Khambo Lama Itigelov, and met with people for whom his story is not in the past, but is a part of their own daily life. A unique video recording, made in 2002 by one of the lamas, allows you to see how the return of Khambo Lama Dashi Dorzho Itigelov happened. XXIV Pandito Khambo Lama Damba Ayusheev talks in his interview about his understanding of this phenomenon. Also we’ll recognize a new manifestation of this phenomenon — the daily messages of Khambo Lama Itigelov.

 

Lamas, academics, museum curators and local historians took part in the shooting. The geography of the project extends from Moscow and St. Petersburg to the most outer regions of Buryatia and the Trans-Baikal Territory. This cinematic study is about how Russian Buddhists live, what they think and feel, and how this culture integrates into the context of Russian history.

 

The film was produced as part of the larger project "Research of the Traditional Russian Buddhism as a Factor of Harmonious Interaction of Various Ethnicities and Cultures of Russia, Based on the Documents of Life, Activities, and Heritage of Pandido Khambo Lama Dashi Dorzho Itigelov." The project is funded by the grant of the President of the Russian Federation for the development of civil society, provided by the Presidential Grants Foundation, as well as with the support of the Buddhist Traditional Sangha of Russia.

 

Production NEW INSTITUTE FOR CULTURAL RESEARCH, KAMER-TON-FILM-RUSSIA

Project Director KIRILL RAZLOGOV

Producers NINA KOCHELYAEVA, ANASTASSIA RAZLOGOVA, MARINA KUCHKOVA

Executive Producer ANDJEI PETRAS

The author and director ELENA DEMIDOVA

Photographer SERGEY MAKSIMOV

Composer ANDJEI PETRAS

The main consultant ALLA NAMSARAEVA

Time 93 minutes

Year 2018

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