Be Inspired

February 25th, 2012

“ Just as the bee takes the nectar and leaves without damaging the colour or scent of the flower so do the wise move through the world.”
The Buddha


All of us have memories of places, people and works of art that stick firmly in our minds. Amongst my remembered bright lights is the first sighting of paintings by a long time student of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, Nancy Koh.

To read and see some of her works follow this link

Childlike Sentiments – Professor Ting Yen-yung in retrospect


Mind as the Moon: the Art of Nancy Koh.

Joint exhibition

Bother not what is true or untrue Just go on practicing, through and through, Chinese ink and brush on paper By Nancy Koh

The Floral Deity dedicates a song in beaming glow The sentient eye joins in echo, Oil on canvas 121.92 x 91.44 cm By Nancy Koh

Rinpoche By Nancy Koh

Posted in Arts and Media

Finding Manjushri

February 25th, 2012

By Dolma Gunther

A scholarly young monk embarks upon an intriguing journey only to discover that the wisdom he seeks is much closer than he imagines, and much stranger than he could possibly envisage.

Finding Manjushri was produced on a shoestring and filmed on location in Bir, Himachal Pradesh, in northern India, with a cast of amateur actors drawn from the local refugee Tibetan community. Preproduction stretched over ten weeks, utilising local trades and craftspeople to produce sets, props and costumes under the supervision of director of photography Al Donnelley and director Dolma Gunther.

The shoot itself took 15 days, complicated by weather – no less than the worst subcontinental monsoon in 15 years – and the vagaries of the Indian electrical supply system. One complicated scene had to be lit with candles after a tree fell on powerlines near the town on the morning of the shoot. The mule that appears in the film is a pig in the original story – but the pig who arrived on the day of the shoot was an impossible prima donna, and had to be recast.

The rough-cut of the film premiered in a tiny guest house in front of almost the whole village much to the delight of the local cast and crew. The film was only made possible with the wonderful support of the local community and the efforts of a number of people. Most notably, Orgyen Tenzang – who plays Lodro – translated the script into Tibetan and cheerfully endured being soaked to the skin time and time again in freezing weather.

Lodro and Dolma on set

The whole production was a journey in itself, rich with cultural exchanges and common warmth.

The entire inspiration for the whole film was DJK Rinpoche, of course and that the original story is a story that Rinpoche occasionally tells and that is where I first heard the story. Rinpoche also gave permission for me to do the film and reviewed versions of the script that I wrote.


At the moment the film is still in the last stages of postproduction and is being entered into short film festivals around the globe but we are trying to raise money to cover the cost of a professional sound editor and a colourist. So any donations or contacts are very welcome!


Lodro is a brilliant young monk at a Tibetan Buddhist monastery high in the Himalayas in India. He excels at debate and is top in his classes in philosophy and dialectics. As blessed as he already is, he is consumed by the wish to encounter Manjushri, the bodhisattva of wisdom, in order to improve his studies. Every day he takes out a postcard of Mount Wutaishan and strokes it lovingly; for he knows that Manjushri has promised that anyone who makes pilgrimage to Mount Wutaishan will meet Manjushri in person. One day he gets up courage to ask Rinpoche, the head of the monastery, to go on pilgrimage.

Al with cast

In his attempt to reach the fabled mountain of Wutaishan, Lodro battles adversity in the form of unrelenting storms, seductive women, bullying cooks, local thuglords and worst of all, a growing disillusionment  and deconstruction of his own expectations and conceptual frameworks.

What Lodro needs to learn is that often, in the getting of wisdom, it is what you lose that is more important than what you gain. When Lodro’s desperation reaches such a point that the lines of reality, illusion and magic all seem to blur, he realises that the blessings of bodhisattvas can manifest in extraordinary ways, and that Manjushri is closer than he ever imagined.

The link to the film is:

Finding Manjushri, A film by Dolma Gunther and Al Donnelley

Posted in Arts and Media

A Painting Life

February 25th, 2012

Julie Adler

All quotes are from Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche.

Arising - work in progress by Julie Adler



















“This is all my doing”


Abiding - work in progress By Julie Adler



















“Abiding is a madness”


Ceasing - work in progress By Julie Adler



















“In the bardo state, you don’t have to close your eyes. Your eyes are gone”

Posted in Arts and Media

Conversation with Ang Tsherin Sherpa

February 25th, 2012

Paul Ferguson

I study traditional thangka painting with Ang Tsherin Sherpa as well as assist him on some of his contemporary works. The more I work with Tsherin, the more I contemplate what it means to preserve tradition as well as break away from it yet attempt to keep its essence intact. For example, I remember Rinpoche saying we shouldn’t visualize the deity with the trappings of Indian royal jewelry like you see in thangkas but to “modernize” them. As a thangka painter, it’s challenging request but seems necessary since the traditional style isn’t matching what your guru is saying. Anyway, it’s a very interesting time for Buddhist artists right now.

Gasmasks By Ang Tsering Sherpa

Preservation by Ang Tsering Sherpa

Two Spirits By Ang Tshering Sherpa


Posted in Arts and Media