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Ongdala: The Initiation of a Young Monk (2010)

Ongdala: The Initiation of a Young Monk

30 minutes  2009


Ongdala is an eight year old tulku or reincarnate lama. The film follows his public examination which took place in the Sikkimese village of Lachen in January 2007. Ongdala recites his prayers in the presence of the village assembly and is then initiated and welcomed as a lama of the Lachen monastery. This is followed by Ongdala’s first performance as a Black Hat ritual dancer and participation in the village’s annual rituals.  His father is the Rinpoche of Lachen and the reincarnation of the Lachen Gomchen, Alexandra-David Néel’s teacher in the early 1910s.


Camera: Dawa Tshering Lepcha and Phurba Tshering Bhutia
Editing: Phurba Tshering Bhutia and Anna Balikci-Denjongpa
Anthropologist and Project Coordinator: Anna Balikci-Denjongpa
Produced by the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Gangtok, Sikkim, India


DVDs of ‘Ongdala’ are available at the Institute’s book shop.