The Yogis Of Tibet is a look at the esoteric world of the Tibetan yogi, and includes interviews with some outstanding practitioners in the modern era. Comprised of rare interviews and never before seen demonstrations, it offers a unique glimpse into the work of Tibetan Buddhism’s holiest sect.
Starting with a brief history of Tibetan Buddhism and how it developed, the documentary traces how the religion was targeted by Communist China in the 20th century, how the Dalai Lama was forced into exile, and how the Yogis and their traditions were all but erased from history. What remains for us to see is inspiring: a culture that developed a science of mind carefully over the centuries, where adepts travel to the most remote mountain locations and practice rigorous, years-long meditation retreats. With the general spread of Eastern religious thought into the West, the Yogis have found a way to keep their embattled traditions alive into the 21st century, but decades of persecution have taken a heavy toll on these gentle men and women.
There is also film brought back from secret locations in Tibet of yogis on long silent retreat. We also have excerpts from an interview with one of the most famous yogis of the modern era, Ven. Drubwang Konchok Norbu Rinpoche.
Since the invasion of Tibet over 50 years ago, China has systematically destroyed the Tibetan culture. One of the most profound losses is the tradition of the great master yogis. The entire system which supported these fascinating mind masters has been inexorably eliminated.
In order to record these mystical practitioners for posterity, the filmmakers were given permission to film heretofore secret demonstrations and to conduct interviews on subject matter rarely discussed.
This profound historical, spiritual and educational film will someday be the last remnant of these amazing practitioners.
below, a review from Spirituality and Practice (http://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/films/reviews/view/5656)
The Yogis of Tibet: A Film for Posterity
Film Review by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
There has never been another culture and society quite like the one that existed in Tibet before the Communist takeover of the country in 1950. This extraordinary film was written by Barbara King and produced by Phil and Jo Borack with the cooperation of the monks of the Drikung Kagyu Tradition.
In the opening segment, the narrator describes the spiritual dimensions of life in this nation on top of the world. Its first inhabitants were nomads. Due to the harsh elements and the impermanence of life, they turned inward for peace. The Buddhism that developed in Tibet was organized around meditation and other practices and rituals. At one point, there were 6,000 monasteries, and one in every six males was a monk. Life in this country of prayer wheels and prayer flags literally revolved around the practices of the people.
The monastery monks not only perfected spiritual disciplines but studied science, philosophy, the arts, and medicine. The filmmakers define a yogi as “an individual who has spent years in isolated retreats practicing secret self-transforming physical and mental exercises, and through these techniques has developed extraordinary control over both mind and body.” During the Chinese takeover, one million Tibetans were killed; many of them were yogis. Realizing that their tradition and impact on the future is now limited, some of these mind masters decided to share a few of their secret beliefs and practices with the world. They include H.E. Choje Togden Rinpoche, H.E. Garchen Rinpoche, Ven Drubwang Konchok Norbu Rinpoche, H.E. Chetsang Rinpoche, and H.H. the Dalai Lama.
Several yogis discuss teachings passed down through the generations about meditation, controlling the mind, and rising above the physical plane of existence. How do they differ from monks? Due to the rigors of their one- to three-year retreats in isolation, they are able to work more diligently on training their minds, controlling their bodies, and dealing with negative emotions. In a fascinating scene, a young yogi demonstrates a demanding breathing exercise which takes two years to learn and then must be repeated for two hours every day. Other yogis talk about their paranormal abilities and experience of teachers who achieved amazing feats in their deaths. These accounts are rendered with utmost seriousness so as to avoid ego-centered showmanship.
The last section of the film focuses on the spiritual practice of compassion. The Dalai Lama tells about a Tibetan monk imprisoned by the Chinese who felt that the only danger he experienced was when he stopped loving his enemies. American Buddhist teacher Robert Thurman has called Tibetan monks and yogis “supreme artists of life.” No wonder they are spreading the dharma all over the world. Yogis are now teaching in the United States, and their mind control techniques and example of inner freedom and peace continue to earn the respect of their students. This inspiring and edifying film allows an even wider audience to appreciate the special spiritual gifts of the yogis of Tibet.