Khyentse Foundation, a nonprofit founded by the renowned Bhutanese lama, filmmaker, and author Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, has announced the imminent release of a new short film, Buddha Path Hostel, with the intent to communicate Rinpoche’s teachings on Buddhism’s Four Seals or basic underlying tenets.
Filmed in 2020 at the Deer Park Institute in Himachal Pradesh, Buddha Path Hostel, is directed by Dave Stevens from the United States and stars Sheetal Agarwal and Deer Park faculty member Venerable Karma Jinpa.
“The purpose of this film is to communicate Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche’s teachings on the Four Seals in Buddhism in a manner that is relatable to students and admirers of the Buddhadharma, new and old,” Khyentse Foundation explained.
Khyentse Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche in 2001 with the aim of promoting the Buddha’s teaching and supporting all traditions of Buddhist study and practice. The foundation’s activities include major text preservation and translation projects, support for monastic colleges in Asia, a worldwide scholarship and awards program, development of Buddhist studies at major universities, training and development for Buddhist teachers, and developing new modes of Dharma-inspired education for children.
Khyentse Foundation described the synopsis of Buddha Path Hostel:
Dissatisfied with the frustrations of urban life, Maya escapes to the Himalayas in the hope of finding peace of mind. Instead, she falls prey to an elaborate catfishing scam and endures heartbreak over the departure of a flighty lover. However, an irreverent monk guides Maya to discover the gems of wisdom hidden within her adversities. Will Maya choose to remain a victim of her circumstances, or will she let go of the conditions that led to her unhappiness?(Khyentse Foundation)
“This is not just another story of some city dweller searching for happiness in the mountains, but a real life-changing journey that happened and could be happening to any one of us,” Khyentse Foundation observed.
The Four Seals are four fundamental philosophical concepts underlying the Buddhist teachings expressed in the Vajrayana tradition. In his book What Makes You Not a Buddhist (Shambhala 2006), Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche translates the Four Seals as:
All compounded things are impermanent.(5)
All emotions are pain
All things have no inherent existence.
Nirvana is beyond concepts.
Noting that recognizing the truth of these four principles is fundamental to practicing the Buddhadharma, Rinpoche goes on to state: “Anyone who accepts these Four Seals, even independently of the Buddha’s teachings, even never having heard the name Shakyamuni Buddha, can be considered to be on the same path as he.” (6)
The Deer Park Institute, where Buddha Path Hostel was filmed, was established by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche in 2006 under Siddhartha’s Intent, is an educational center for the study of classical Indian wisdom traditions, inspired by the great university of Nalanda, that aims to nurture “a spirit, in thought and activity, of non-sectarianism in Buddhist and other philosophical traditions.” (Deer Park Institute)
“All participants are members of the Deer Park sangha and brought to the project varying abilities of film crew experience, from beginner to professional. The funds for this film were donated by volunteers and other sangha members,” Khyentse Foundation noted, adding that the official commercial release of Buddha Path Hostel would be announced in the very near future.
Born in Bhutan in 1961, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche is the son of Thinley Norbu Rinpoche and was a close student of the Nyingma master Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (1910–91). He is recognized as the third incarnation of the 19th century Tibetan terton Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (1820–1892), founder of the Khyentse lineage, and the immediate incarnation of Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö (1893–1959).
In addition to Khyentse Foundation, his projects include Siddhartha’s Intent, an international collective of Buddhist groups supporting Rinpoche’s Buddhadharma activities by organizing teachings and retreats, distributing and archiving recorded teachings, and transcribing, editing, and translating manuscripts and practice texts; 84000, a non-profit global initiative to translate the words of the Buddha and make them available to all; Lotus Outreach, which directs a range of projects to ensure the education, health, and safety of vulnerable women and children in the developing world; and Lhomon Society, which promotes sustainable development in Bhutan through education.
Rinpoche is the author of several books, including: What Makes You Not a Buddhist (2006), Not For Happiness (2012), The Guru Drinks Bourbon? (2016), and Poison is Medicine: Clarifying the Vajrayana (2021), and has garnered renown inside and outside of the global Buddhist community for the feature-length films he has written and directed: The Cup (1999), Travellers and Magicians (2004), Vara: A Blessing (2012), Hema Hema: Sing Me a Song While I wait (2016), and Looking For A Lady With Fangs And A Moustache (2019).
Khyentse, Dzongsar Jamyang. 2006. What Makes You Not a Buddhist. Boulder, CO: Shambhala Publications.
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