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A visual journey to the fifth Dalai Lama’s private meditation chamber

Inspired by a series of seventeenth-century murals and commissioned by Wellcome Collection, the above excerpt is part of a longer, two-screen installation from a new exhibition about Tibetan Buddhist meditational practice. Below, artist and director David Bickerstaff describes the film’s winding excursion:

Tibet’s Fifth Dalai Lama envisioned a small temple on an island behind the Potala Palace in the city of Lhasa. The top floor of the little-known Lukhang temple enshrines a series of rare murals, once described by the present Dalai Lama as jewels of Tibetan civilization. This film is a short visual essay that travels from the birthplace of Tibetan Buddhism on the banks of the Yarlung Tsangpo River–through the streets of Lhasa and the towering Potala Palace–in search of the secret temple’s watery secrets.