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Lion's Roar Presents

BuddhaFest 2024


24 Hours/Day
Today until August 26

Save 54% When You Register TODAY


Your Online Pass Includes:

  • Nine New Talks from Tara Brach, Sharon Salzberg, Roshi Joan Halifax, Lama Palden Drolma, Kaira Jewel Lingo, Roshi EnkyĹŤ Pat O'Hara, Alisa Dennis, Sharon A. Suh, and Ruth King in conversation with Pamela Ayo Yetunde
  • Encore Talks from Previous BuddhaFests with Joanna Macy, Lama Tsultrim Allione, JoAnna Hardy and Sylvia Boorstein
  • 14 Buddhist Films: An Extraordinary Collection of Films Focusing on Women, or Made by Female Filmmakers. 
  • A Musical Performance with Acclaimed Pianist Maria Joao Pires, Accompanied by a Meditation with Matthieu Ricard
  • Tibetan Healing Mantras: A Musical Performance
    with Drukmo Gyal Dakini


24 Hours/Day
Today until August 26

Save 54% When You Register TODAY


BuddhaFest Presented in Partnership with



This year’s film program celebrates Women of Buddhism with a selection of thirteen works from seven nations about, and mostly by, women, as varied as the geography: from monastics to boxers, artists to activists, youth to elders, and from different Buddhist traditions.


Directed by Victress Hitchcock USA / English and Tibetan with English subtitles / 90 min / Documentary

The Tsoknyi Nangchen Nuns of Tibet practice a yogic traditions initiated by the first Tsoknyi Rinpoche in the 1800s. All their nunneries were destroyed during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, but a handful of survivors persisted and have rebuilt some of their sanctuaries by hand. Their tradition is once again thriving. The film documents a visit to Tibet by the current Tsoknyi Rinpoche along with a group of Western women students, and features him, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, and Tsultrim Allione, plus rare footage of Sherab Zangmo, a nun who went into hiding, stayed in retreat for 20 years and emerged after conditions improved to teach and inspire until her death.

Click Here to Watch the Trailer

Dark Red Forest

 Directed by Jin Huaqing China / Tibetan and Chinese with English subtitles / 85 min / Documentary

Dark Red Forest is a beautiful invocation of the unique daily life of women devoted to their faith, an intimate engagement with a hidden world. Twenty thousand Buddhist nuns live in a monastery on a snowy plateau in Tibet. Surrounded by harsh nature and secluded from the outside world, these women offer us a glimpse into their exploration of life’s biggest questions. Far away from their families, the nuns commit everything to reach an awakened state, entrusting themselves to the lama and each other. Filmed on location at Yarchen Monastery. Director Jin Huaqing spent six years making this film, visiting the monastery over forty times and often living among the nuns for months at a stretch. He has five award-winning previous films, and is an active film studies teacher with Zhejiang University of Media and Communications, and Suzhou University.

Only available in North America

Click Here to Watch the Trailer

Honeygiver Among the Dogs

Directed by Dechen Roder Bhutan / Dzongkha with English subtitles / 132 min / Drama

This first feature by Bhutanese director Dechen Roder is her feminist twist on film noir. A woman goes missing from a small village, policeman Kinley is put on the case, and his number one suspect is sexy Choden. But the missing woman is the abbess of a Buddhist nunnery, and there are some forces at work beyond the obvious. Choden regales Kinley with legends about enlightened female deities fighting social oppression—stories he dismisses as “rumors,” given that he eyes Buddhist murals with suspicion rather than awe. Vividly filmed by cinematographer Jigme Tenzing (who also lensed Khyentse Norbu’s Hema Hema: Sing Me A Song While I Wait and the recent Oscar nominee Lunana—A Yak in the Classroom), this is a beautiful and provocative journey into contemporary Bhutan, the last Buddhist kingdom.

Click Here to Watch the Trailer


 Directed by Tsering Rhitar Sherpa Nepal / Tibetan with English subtitles / 90 min / Drama

In a Tibetan Buddhist nunnery a revered abbess dies. Prayers and rituals must be performed, but there’s no money, so one of the nuns, Karma, must journey to find the man who may owe them a debt. Filmed in the remote Himalayan region of Mustang, we follow Karma to Kathmandu, where she discovers that many things are not what she thought.

Click Here to Watch the Trailer

Khandro: A Woman’s Path of Peace

Directed by Babeth VanLoo The Netherlands / English / 60 min / Documentary

JetsĂĽn Khandro Rinpoche is the eldest daughter of Kyabje Mindrolling Trichen Gyurme KĂĽnzang Wangyal, an important Tibetan teacher in the Nyingma school, and is the latest in a unique lineage of female masters known as the JetsĂĽnma line. She teaches all over the world and has her North American base in Virginia. Director Babeth VanLoo (Meredith Monk: Inner Voice, Painting Peace) creates an inspiring portrait of this remarkable woman and her American students.

By arrangement with Buddhist Film Festival in Europe (BFFE). 

Click Here to Watch the Trailer

Lucia Rijker: A Boxer, A Buddhist

 Directed by George Schouten The Netherlands / English, and Dutch with English subtitles / 73 min / Documentary

Undefeated boxer and kickboxer Lucia Rijker has been dubbed “the Most Dangerous Woman in the World”—she played opposite (and trained) Hilary Swank in the film Million Dollar Baby, she can speak four languages, and…she’s a Buddhist. Director George Schouten brings us into the turbulent period of choices following her big-screen success. Rijker shares herself intimately, discussing the seeming dichotomy of her Buddhist path with the raw violence of boxing.

By arrangement with Buddhist Film Festival in Europe (BFFE). 

Meredith Monk: Inner Voice

 Directed by Babeth Mondini VanLoo The Netherlands, USA / English / 82 min / Documentary

One of the most original and important artists of her generation, acclaimed as a “magician of the voice,” Meredith Monk has spent her life creating and innovating as singer, composer, director, filmmaker, and choreographer. In intimate conversations and through archival footage, the film braids together the threads of Monk’s life: her creative process; her Buddhist practice; the untimely death of her life partner; her connection with friends, collaborators, and her mother (Audrey Marsh, a radio vocalist and pop singer). Each thread informs Monk’s journey, and the integration of creativity and spiritual practice resonates throughout. Excerpts from her four-decade career including Songs of Ascension, Dolmen Music, her opera Atla and her film Ellis Island remind us of the pioneer she has always been: her vocal works and choreography stretch the possibilities of the voice and body, discover and play with timbre and nuance, and create unusual, compelling solo, ensemble and theater works. As in Monk’s work itself, the film retains a sense of mystery and wonder. Featuring John Daido Loori, Ann Hamilton, the Meredith Monk Vocal Ensemble, members of the Oratorio Society of Minnesota. Filmed on location in New Mexico, New York, Italy, and California.

By arrangement with Buddhist Film Festival in Europe (BFFE). 

On the Road

 Directed by Lee Chang-jae Korea / Korean with English subtitles / 104 min / Documentary

Beautifully filmed over a year on location in and around Backheung-am, a thousand year old rural Korean Buddhist nunnery, On the Road is a rare and revealing study of monastic life today. Just before her ordainment, one of the novices journeys along with more senior nuns through delightful Korean country landscapes and engages with a range of local characters, all with humor and insight. Fiercely dedicated, passionate, hard working yet prone to mirth, these nuns are sustaining a tradition of obvious vitality.

Sense of Urgency

 Directed by Patrick van Boeckel Netherlands / English, and Dutch with English subtitles / 75 min / Documentary

Zen teacher, activist, anthropologist and author Joan Halifax has come to exemplify many of the historic developments in Buddhism in America. She is the founder of Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, her base from which she travels extensively on teaching and humanitarian trips around the world, and she is a leader in working with people in the final phase of life. Filmed on location in New Mexico, Holland, Nepal and Germany.

By arrangement with Buddhist Film Festival in Europe (BFFE). 

Tzu Chi: Doing Good in the World

 Directed by Babeth VanLoo Netherlands, Taiwan / English, and Taiwanese with English subtitles / 88 min plus

Tzu Chi is a remarkable organization in Taiwan that runs hospitals, schools, recycling services, and emergency humanitarian aid efforts. The blue-jacketed Tzu Chi volunteers may be seen at disaster sites like earthquakes, tsunamis, and floods all over the world. The organization is led by an extraordinary woman, Master Cheng Yen, a Buddhist nun who began single-handedly by reaching out to neighbors to help offer health services where they were lacking in post WWII Taiwan. This film introduces us to her and takes us behind the scenes to explore a unique approach to living a compassionate, engaged life.

By arrangement with Buddhist Film Festival in Europe (BFFE). 

Click Here to Watch the Trailer

Women of Tibet: A Quiet Revolution

 Directed by Rosemary Rawcliffe USA / English, and Tibetan with English subtitles / 58 min / Documentary

For the first time on film, three generations of Tibetan women, along with the 14th Dalai Lama, tell the story of one of the great movements of nonviolent resistance in modern history. From the streets of Lhasa to refuge in Dharamsala, India, the stories at the heart of this film offer an intimate and direct experience of what it is to lose everything and begin anew. Featuring Ama Adhe, Dolma Tsering, Tseten Choeden, and Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama. Emmy® Award-winner

Click Here to Watch the Trailer

Women of Tibet: Gyalyum Chemo—The Great Mother

 Directed by Rosemary Rawcliffe USA / English, and Tibetan with English subtitles / 56 min / Documentary

This film tells the compelling life story of Dekyi Tsering, the mother of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama. The Tibetan people call her "Gyalyum Chemo," or "Great Mother." During the course of her long and extraordinary life, she gave birth to sixteen children, seven of whom survived, three of whom were recognized as incarnate lamas, and one who has been recognized by millions around the globe as one of the world's leading ambassadors for peace. The film weaves together a rich life history with anecdotal threads and personal reflections from her family and friends, including the Dalai Lama, who speaks candidly of his admiration and respect for her and the profound impact she had on him. Dr. Marion Woodman, Alice Walker, and Angeles Arrien link this uniquely TIbetan story to a much broader perspective on motherhood, and how the Great Mother lives within each of us.

Click Here to Watch the Trailer

Zenju’s Path

 Directed by Kathryn Golden USA, The Netherlands / English / 31 min / Documentary

What’s Buddhism got to do with Black people anyway? Zenju’s Path explores this question through the life and work of Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, one of the first African-American female Soto Zen priests in the United States. The film chronicles the spiritual odyssey of this remarkable woman, beginning with her family¹s devout Christian upbringing, the pain of racial bigotry and her questioning of both. It is ultimately the story of a dharma teacher who doesn’t suppress the questioning of spiritual practice and tradition. Zenju uses the drum as a tool, connecting all who suffer, regardless of race or gender to the Buddha’s teachings.

Click Here to Watch the Trailer



Moments of Grace

 Directed by Claudine Gemache Canada / French with English subtitles / 80min / performance-meditation

Featuring Matthieu Ricard and Maria Joao Pires This is a beautifully produced film of the unique and intimate concert event featuring Tibetan Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard and renowned classical pianist Maria Joao Pires. Ricard offers insights and invitations to meditation on pure awareness as Pires performs selected Preludes and Fugues from Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier and Shubert’s Impromptus in front of an appreciative audience at the Maison Symponique in Montreal, Canada.

Click Here to Watch the Trailer


24 Hours/Day
Today until August 26

Save 54% When You Register TODAY

Nine New Wisdom Talks

Trust the Gold: Honoring Our Inherent Value

Featuring Tara Brach, PhD 

Loving-Kindness as Liberation: Buddhism, Inclusivity and Empowerment

Featuring Sharon Salzberg 

Grandmother’s Heart: Robai-shin and the Wise Elder Within

Featuring Roshi Joan Halifax, PhD 

Love on Every Breath: Tonglen Meditation to Open the Heart

Featuring Lama Palden Drolma

Intersectional Compassion: Honoring Diversity in Buddhist Practice

Featuring Kaira Jewel Lingo

Bodhisattvas Have more Fun: How to Serve in an Open and Joyful Way

Featuring Roshi Enkyō Pat O'Hara

Loving the Skin You're In: Metta Meditation for the Body and Beyond

Featuring Alisa Dennis

Buddhist Women on the Silver Screen

Featuring Sharon A. Suh PhD

Cultivating Joy: A Conversation on Buddhism and Resilience

Featuring Ruth King

Pamela Ayo Yetunde, Co-Host 

in conversation with Ruth King


24 Hours/Day
Today until August 26

Save 54% When You Register TODAY

Musical Performances

A Musical Performance with Acclaimed Pianist Maria Joao Pires, Accompanied by a Meditation with Matthieu Ricard

This performance combines music and meditations on mindfulness and altruistic love. Matthieu Ricard and the famous pianist Maria João Pires offer a meditative journey through the pieces. This concert offers a unique, intimate and intense musical experience in the present moment, which enhances compassion and celebrates the connection between self and others.




Tibetan Healing Mantras: A Musical Performance with Drukmo Gyal Dakini

Drukmo Gyal Dakini brings to you a selection of mantras from the Buddhist and medical traditions of her homeland Tibet, combined with her pure voice and soaring melodies that guide the listener into a state of deep awareness and connection. Mantra healing is the practice of using sound and vibration as a healing medium. It is a powerful method for opening the heart, energy channels, and mind.


Favorite Talks From Previous Years 

Understanding Despair:
The Fabric that Connects Us

Featuring Joanna Macy

Joanna Macy discusses her ongoing journey in the field of despair and empowerment work. Her experience began as a fear of the deep concern she felt for her planet and for the world, and a belief that she needed to suppress these feelings.

As her work evolved, she developed a clear understanding that despair is not something to fear or hide, but a gift that provides us with the ability to confront injustices and lead others to transform their despair into compassionate action.

Feeding Your Demons

Featuring Lama Tsultrim Allione

Lama Tsultrim teaches an innovative technique for turning your inner enemies into friends. Feeding our demons rather than fighting them contradicts the conventional approach of fighting against whatever assails us. But it turns out to be a remarkably effective path to inner integration.

Our demons are within us, energies we experience every day, such as fear, illness, depression, anxiety, trauma, relationship difficulties, and addiction. Anything that drains our energy and blocks us from being completely awake is a demon. Join Lama Tsultrim as she shows us how we can turn these demons into friends.

Applying Right Effort to Your Practice

Featuring JoAnna Hardy

When looking at our meditation practice it's helpful to pay attention to how much or how little energy we put into it. Just like our everyday lives, we can over do or under do, putting ourselves in a constant state of imbalance, confusion and burn out. In the Buddhist practice there is a term we use called Wise Effort — that “just-right-spot”. In this talk we will discuss and practice with wise effort and balance, both on and off the cushion.

Everything Hangs on Intention: How to Align Your Intentions with Your Real Values

Featuring Sylvia Boorstein

The Buddha instructed his son, Rahula to''reflect before, during, and after every action on whether your motivation is the desire to end suffering for yourself and all beings.''

This implies that either your intention is so solidly grounded in your understanding of dukkha, inherent suffering in life, that you cannot misstep without your moral compass sounding an alarm or else you act very, very slowly.


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