This weekend I was lucky to get a last minute ticket to the sold out Banff Mountain Film Festival world tour in Winnipeg (thanks Jason). 10 films were shown over a span of 3 hours. Each one included amazing feats of skill, fearlessness and tales of overcoming the odds, all documented with incredibly beautiful footage of some of the wildest locations in the world. If you have a chance to check out this festival, do it! I guarantee you'll leave feeling inspired to be more brave in your own life.
One such brave film included in the festival is Tashi and the Monk by filmmakers Andrew Hinton and Johnny Burke (www.pilgrimfilms.com). It is not a tale of death defying speed, strength or athletic skill. It does, however, share the story of a former Buddhist monks couregous journey to transform the lives of abandoned children through love and compassion. The youngest child fostered within the community of Jhamtse Gatsal (Tibetan for Garden of Love and Compassion) is Tashi, who came to live at Jhamtse Gatsal after her mother died from illness and she was left with her alcoholic father. Tashi is described as extremely "naughty" and struggles to make friends. Through the compassion of Lobsang and the other children, she begins to learn that love can help heal even the saddest memories.
Humanity and empathy are strong themes in the story of Jhamtse Gatsal. Those who have worked with boys and girls being raised in the foster system will relate with the adults who assist Lobsang on his quest to create a loving home for neglected children. In my experience, Tashi represents all the troubled young children I've met over the past 15 years as an educational assistant. Lobsangs way with the children in this documentary exemplifies how kindness and empathy is truly the most successful path toward education and healing. His ongoing, selfless journey to provide for and educate them is nothing short of heroic. It is a story that will take your breath away.
Learn more about Jhamtse Gatsal Children's Community and how to donate or sponsor a child.
Watch a trailer for Tashi and the Monk on Vimeo here.