The Rubin The Blue Buddha in Russia
The Blue Buddha in Russia
2006, Canada, Tetsuya Itano and Aerlyn Weissman, 47 min.
This film features Tuvan Dorzhi Radnayevich, who is a doctor of Tibetan medicine in Ulan Ude, the capital city of Buryatia, a Russian republic in southern Siberia. Like other practitioners of this age-old system of medicine, Tuvan Dorzhi can now work freely in Russia. When he first started his practice, however, there were no young Tibetan physicians. Under Stalin, almost all high-ranking monks and monk doctors (emchi lamas) were killed and thousands of lower-ranking ones sent to labour camps. Today Tuvan Lama, as he is also known, is determined to revive Tibetan medicine in Buryatia.
The Blue Buddha in Russia follows Tuvan Lama as he makes house calls, receives visitors to his clinic, presides at a funeral, teaches at-risk youth the medicinal properties of plants, treks across the steppes in search of licorice root, and visits the Atsagatsky monastery where he hopes one day to open a medical centre. An examination of the history of Tibetan medicine in Russia, this documentary is also an illuminating look at one of its most devoted practitioners today. This film is distributed by Moving Images Distribution. Post-screening discussion with Nikolay Tsyrempilov.
About the Speaker
Nikolay Tsyrempilov is currently George Kennan Member of Princeton Institute for Advanced Study. Sphere of his academic interests includes Tibetan and Mongolian history, Tibetan Buddhism and its interaction with the Qing and Romanov empires. He is the author of 50 articles and 6 books among which is ‘From Tibet Confidentially: Secret Correspondence of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama to Agvan Dorzhiev, 1911-1925’ (Dharamsala, 2012).