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Dolma is the Tibetan name of Tara, a Buddhist female deity, and means 'she who saves'. Dolma is regarded as a Bodhisattva of compassion and action. She is known as the mother of all buddhas. Our team felt that Dolma relates to the message we would like to convey via our movie and used her name in the documentary title.
One of the main legends about her origin as a bodhisattva tells a story of a young princess who lived in a different world millions of years ago. Her name is Jnanachandra. For a long time she makes offerings to the Buddha of that world in her determination to become a Buddha. After achieving a certain level of attainment, the princess is advised by monks to pray to be reborn as a male to progress her Enlightenment. “Nonsense.”, she replies.”What difference does the shape of the body matter? In fact, to dispel this incorrect notion from the minds of certain beings, I will forever be reborn as a female!” The princess spends years in meditation and becomes Buddha. She believed that:
Here there is no man, there is no woman,
No self, no person, and no consciousness.
Labelling male or female has no essence,
But deceives the evil-minded world.
Her vow is:
There are many who desire Enlightenment
in a mans body,
but none who work for the benefit of sentient beings in the body of a woman.
Therefore, until samsara is empty, I shall work for the benefit of sentient beings in a womans body!
Daughters of Dolma takes viewers on a journey revealing a distinctively female experience of Tibetan Buddhism in the Kathmandu Valley. This feature-length documentary brings to the screen not just Buddhist spirituality and qualities like compassion and kindness, but Tibetan Buddhist nuns as full individuals beyond their monastic vows and religious practices. Daughters of Dolma reveals how gender and modernity are moulding contemporary spiritual practices in Nepal.
Daughters of Dolma is the filmed narration of our expedition trip in Nepal in June 2011. We lived among Tibetan Buddhist nuns from Karma Ngoedhon Osal Choekhorling and Karma Samte Ling Nunneries in Nepal and together with them, we explored age, modernity, spirituality, journey and gender issues - our main themes of interest.