Documentary follows the 2,500-year history of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.
The Guna Foundation is responsible for producing the film, which focuses specifically on the Buddhism of Tibet, and ponders how that tradition could be maintained, and not diminished, in a world where fewer and fewer people speak the Tibetan language.
It is no surprise that the Guna Foundation would commission such a documentary. Their mission is “to document the vision, accomplishments and impact of working to preserve the endangered Tibetan culture.”
As such, the movie’s website further explains the its goal: “It meditates on the fragility of knowledge in the face of global events and asks the crucial question: What is the future of this ancient wisdom?”
The site also defines the word “transmission” as “the act or process by which something, such as knowledge, is passed from one person to another”, perhaps because modern use of the word usually centers around, some sort of electronic movement of information.
This transmission is much more human-focused. For over 1,000 years, Tibet played a major role in the survival of Buddhism. But in 1959, Communist China invaded Tibet. In the process, they destroyed much of Tibet’s sacred texts and along with them, Tibetan culture.
Tibetan refugee and Buddhist lama Tarthang Tulku, having witnessed the destruction of his beloved culture, dedicated the rest of his life to restoring the knowledge of Tibetan culture and tradition.
With a few volunteers, Tulku delivered over four million books into the hands of Tibetans. It has been considered one of the biggest free book distributions in history.
The Great Transmission chronicles the efforts of several generations of Tibetan Buddhists to preserve their endangered culture.