Director: Malati Rao
Country: India
Year: 2019

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For decades, Tibetan Buddhist nuns and their allies fought for the right to receive their religious tradition’s highest academic honor, the geshe degree (called geshema for women). Comparable to a PhD in Tibetan Buddhism, the geshe degree had been off limits to women since its inception. But in 2012, the degree was opened to women. The Geshema Is Born follows the inspiring story of Namdol Phuntsok, an exceptional young nun, as she earns top honors and becomes one of the first of a new class of esteemed women scholars.

Sponsored by the Foundation for Universal Responsibility of HH The Dalai Lama, The Geshema Is Born has been screened at 11 film festivals and won Best Documentary at Indic Film Utsav 2020 and Best Woman Director at Bangkok International Documentary Awards.

This film will be available to stream until midnight EST on Friday, July 2.

Learn more about the film at psbt.org or by reading Tricycle’s 2019 article, “The Rising Generation of Female Tibetan Buddhist Leaders.”

Namdol Phuntsok with the yellow hat that symbolizes her geshema degree. | Images Courtesy of the Public Service Broadcasting Trust

Nuns await His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s arrival. | Images Courtesy of the Public Service Broadcasting Trust

my soul drifts light upon a sea of trees

Namdol Phuntsok, left, poses with other geshemas and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. | Images Courtesy of the Public Service Broadcasting Trust

my soul drifts light upon a sea of trees

A nun walks across a monastery courtyard. | Images Courtesy of the Public Service Broadcasting Trust

Nuns take part in a Tibetan scholastic debate. | Images Courtesy of the Public Service Broadcasting Trust

His Holiness the Dalai Lama with geshemas. | Images Courtesy of the Public Service Broadcasting Trust

Nuns chant at a ritual, reading from Tibetan loose-leaf book called a pecha. | Images Courtesy of the Public Service Broadcasting Trust

An elderly Tibetan woman uses her mala beads. | Images Courtesy of the Public Service Broadcasting Trust

my soul drifts light upon a sea of trees

The Geshema is Born | Images Courtesy of the Public Service Broadcasting Trust