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The Meridian Trust Round up of 2015 - Sharing the message of peace, compassion and wisdom.
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December 2015

Season's Greetings from The Meridian Trust

Message from the Director

Dolma Beresford

Welcome to all our friends and supporters to - what I can scarcely believe is - our end of year Newsletter. This, our 30th anniversary, seems to have flown by and now is a good time to sit back, relax and reflect on what has certainly be an extraordinarily busy and productive year.

Since 1985 we have been dedicated to preserving and sharing Buddhist thought, wisdom and culture on film.  From small beginnings we have now created the largest Buddhist film archive in the world - 2,500 hours of content; precious source material of Buddhist philosophy, teachings and insights.

This year the fundamental benefit of a Buddhist approach to our world has really taken hold, beyond mindfulness and into the realms of true universal responsibility. We have been closely involved in this movement, from our instrumental role during the Dalai Lama’s incredible visit to Glastonbury, through filming Thupten Jinpa’s talk on why compassion is the key to greater well-being. This is in addition to a full programme, filming many of the great Tibetan and western Buddhist teachers delivering workshops, teachings and retreats.

Our week at Glastonbury also gave us the opportunity to showcase and highlight the amazing work filmmakers are doing worldwide, creatively documenting, developing and preserving Tibet’s unique culture. Several months in the preparation, our Tibet Film Festival proved a great success with audience and participants alike.
Founding Trustee Geoff Jukes, H.H. the Dalai Lama and Director Dolma Beresford, Dharamsala, North India.

Website Launch - Opening the Vaults

Celebrating 30 years of safeguarding and sharing compassion and wisdom with the world

 

Screening at The Meridian Trust's 30th Anniversary Celebrations
Director Dolma Beresford with Founding Trustee Geoff Jukes
On the 30th April, appropriately enough, the Trust launched the beta-test version of its film streaming website, marking 30 years of safeguarding and sharing Buddhist wisdom.
The serene environment of the A_SPACE venue provided the perfect backdrop; an oasis of calm in the centre of hectic london. It was wonderful to have so many friends who, have championed our work over the years, come together for the occasion. Seeing everyone in the same place really put into focus just what a journey we have come on from initial filming, through the difficult times as we fought to protect the archive, to the present day where we now have an ever increasing and developing wisdom resource available online - totally free to view for all interested in following the path of peace and compassion.

Just over 18 months ago we were immersed in storyboards, wireframes and other technical considerations necessary for successful web development. Our heartfelt thanks to all involved, especially our web developers, We Add Motion. They held our hands as we worked through the complex processes involved in building a fully searchable film streaming website.

The calibre of work achieved has already attracted similar organisations wishing to share their own archives, entrusting them into our care. We are honoured that others have asked us to curate their own similar collections - we have now digitised, edited and encoded their content which can be viewed, again, totally free of charge.

 
Top Left clockwise: Photos from our 30th Anniversary celebrations. Presentation in the screening room, Dolma and Geoff, Guests arrive, Dolma presents 30th Anniversary presentation, Trustees Janet Millar, Geoff Jukes and Greta Jensen, Dolma pointing to 30th Anniversary balloons.

The Dalai Lama's Glastonbury

It was an indescribable privilege to be part of this momentous event, supporting the Dalai Lama directly in his desire to bring the vital message of peace and compassion to a younger audience. More than 2 years ago, our founding Trustee Geoff Jukes, along with Mike Wohl and Tracey Seaward first had the idea of inviting His Holiness to this unique event.

The weekend was every bit as memorable as hoped and did indeed give His Holiness an amazing platform to help spread the crucial message of peace, tolerance and compassion. He was instrumental in so many events that it was dubbed 'the Dalai Lama’s Glastonbury': from talks in the peace garden, to climate change debate and even an appearance on the main Pyramid Stage. Throughout, acting once again in our capacity as official film crew, the Meridian Trust was there recording all the talk, debate and action as it happened.

Early on, during the planning stage of the Glastonbury event, we had an idea. For more than 30 years we have supported the Dalai Lama in his mission, to preserve Tibetan culture. Given our ‘film’ background and also the incredible film talent out there, from the Tibetan diaspora, there seemed only one appropriate birthday gift we could give His Holiness: a film festival, showcasing all the great diversity of talent and cultural richness Tibet has to offer the world.

With careful timetabling, over the course of the long festival weekend we were able to showcase more than 40 films, ranging from hard hitting documentaries, to epic fantasies to small vignettes of beautiful intimate storytelling. We give our thanks to all the amazing film-makers, directors producers and filmographers out there for this wonderful event.
Top clockwise: The Dalai Lama and crowd, Pyramid Stage ©Nick Wall. The Dalai Lama with Patti Smith and Tracey Seaward, Pyramid Stage, Glastonbury. Alan Yentob introduces the Dalai Lama to the King's Meadow. The Meridian film crew: Matt Kay, Kaska Phuntsok, Dave Barnard and Dolma Beresford. Chris Kenyon, Glastonbury founder - Michael Eavis and Meridian Trustee Janet Millar. Emily Eavis meets the Dalai Lama.

Buddhism for the 21st Century

Aldershot welcomes the Dalai Lama - June 2015

After leaving Glastonbury the Meridian film crew headed to Hampshire for our next assignment the following morning.  Monday was to be another busy day for His Holiness as he responded once again, to a personal invitation from the people of Aldershot.  

The morning marked a first, as he officially opened the first Buddhist Community Centre in the UK. Sitting in Aldershot High Street. The plan to open a Buddhist Centre in Aldershot came about not only to cater for current needs of the local population (Hampshire is home to more Buddhists than anywhere else in the UK, with a significant Nepalese population) but also to address the ever growing interest in Buddhist thought and wisdom amongst the general population.  

The opening ceremony was attended by faith leaders representing all religions that make up the population of Rushmore borough, Aldershot. It set the tone for the remainder of the visit, as the Dalai Lama then headed over to the ESS football stadium in Aldershot, to speak on ‘Buddhism in the 21st Century’ - a thought provoking talk on the benefit that a non sectarian Buddhist attitude could bring to humankind, helping us to solve the challenges we currently face.

From playing with the crowd on the Pyramid stage, through to an in depth dialogue on climate change, all this content is available to view via our website, free of charge, for all. 
Top clockwise: The Dalai Lama opens the BCCUK's Buddhist Community Centre, Aldershot. Kaska Phuntsok films the Dalai Lama's public talk.

The Fearless Heart

Book launch and audience with Thupten Jinpa

For many years, as the Dalai Lama’s official translator, Thupten Jinpa has worked closely with scientists from across the globe, most notably as Chair of Mind & Life. Holding, as he does, a PhD from Cambridge University (where from 1996 to 1999, he was Research Fellow in Eastern Religion at Girton College, Cambridge), Jinpa has that rare gift of being able to able to communicate intellectual concepts in a down to earth way.

'A Fearless Heart' - An Evening at Conway Hall, with Thupten Jinpa, is now fully available to view on via our new website. 
 

Dzogchen Retreat with
Dr Alan Wallace

Another filming highlight for June, as the Meridian Crew were given the great privilege of recording a full 9 day retreat by the renowned western Buddhist teacher, Dr Alan Wallace. To reference the breadth, scope and depth of this man’s Buddhist knowledge is not easy: his 40 years of studying Tibetan Buddhism shines through and our full audio recording of this retreat is a gem of true Buddhist rigour and intelligence as he takes participants on a journey of experiential self discovery.

“The Dharma of an Idiot who Wears Mud and Feathers for Clothing” - Content is not simple, hence this depth of retreat can only be recommended and will only be available to those with a certain level of understanding and previous Dzogchen retreat experience.

 

A Special Anniversary Gift

More than 30 years ago the Dalai Lama made a direct request to our founding trustees, that they use their skills to help preserve Tibetan culture and heritage on film: we were delighted to be able to showcase, via our new website, the fruits of our labours - as we opened the vaults of our archive. This, we feel, is not only a gift to the Dalai Lama on his 80th Birthday but is also a gift to all humanity.

We were honoured to have been able to spend an hour with His Holiness at his residence in Dharamsala, North India. He was very interested and engaged in our work, viewing sections of the 1,000 hours of free films now available on our website. As our patron and advisor he was very explicit in his wish that we make our archive available as widely as possible and in as many countries as possible including Taiwan, China and Tibet, a wish we would very much like to make a reality.

During the course of our time in India we were also had the privilege of meeting Lobsang Sangay, Sikyong (equivalent to a Prime Minister) of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, who praised our endeavours and persistence and could see a place for our archive in the Tibetan Museum, currently in the planning stage.

We continued our busy schedule of meetings which included the Dolma Ling Nunnery, the Department of Information & International Relations (part of the Central Tibetan Administration) and the Tibetan Library of Works and Archives. It was here that we met up with an old friend, Karma Kedup who was one of the monks that Meridian, in collaboration with the BBC, trained in film and editing processes in the UK. He went on to work on our Lama Project, documenting a significant part of the archives 600 hours of footage of Tibet's great teachers - before they passed away. He was delighted to see his work, online and available for the benefit of all.
Top clockwise: The Dalai Lama, Dolma Beresford and Geoff Jukes, after our audience, Dharamsala, North India. The foothills of the Himalayas, Dolma, Geoff and Karma Kedup. Dolma, Lobsang Sangay, Sikyong (equivalent to a Prime Minister) of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile and Geoff. Dolma and Geoff arrive in Dharamsala.

Filming Gems of 2015    

  We hope you enjoy the films already edited and we look forward to sharing the others with you soon.

Universal Responsibility 

The Dalai Lama's 2nd UK tour - September 2015

Glastonbury was just a small part of the Dalai Lama’s tireless work in the UK this year, as he undertook not one but two UK tours. In September the main focus of work was ‘beyond religion’ - sharing the message of universal responsibility and secular ethics throughout the UK and across all age groups from school children to business leaders in London to interfaith discussion and public talks open to the general public.

Throughout we were there, recording the crucial debates, thoughts and beautiful moments as they unfolded. It has been an honour to be a small cog in the wheel, bringing the message of peace and compassion to the world.
Top clockwise: The Dalai Lama arrives in Cambridge. Dolma Beresford offers a welcome to the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama and Lord Rowan Williams during the Inspire Dialogue Conference, Cambridge. The Dalai Lama meets school children.
Dolma, Matthieu Ricard and Kaska - 
Inspire Dialogue Conference, Cambridge. Dolma filming the Dalai Lama at the Colosseum Theatre, London.©Ian Cumming
EXPLORE THE ARCHIVE
Public Talk at the Pyramid Stage, Glastonbury – H.H. the Dalai Lama
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Future Plans

A brief word

With an exciting imminent move to a new office at Jamyang Buddhist Centre (London), we look forward to a new chapter in our work. From here our focus will be to bring the remaining 1,500+ of our archive online - no small endeavour but, as the backbone of all our work, one we consider crucial - whilst maintaining continued free access to this online educational resource. Additionally we will continue our work of Tibetan cultural preservation, film Buddhist teachings and also help to promote secular ethics and values based education of our next generation.
 

Get Involved!

Become a Guardian

Donate Now

It is the small regular donations that keep us at Meridian going. They make it possible for us to plan for the future, knowing we have a regular core income which supports our work. Help us by becoming a Guardian: for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week you can help us build on the vital work of bringing the message of peace and compassion to all. 

Sounds daunting? Two years ago, the thought of getting our archive online felt a bit of challenge but we are now there. With small steps it was possible. 

Perhaps you would prefer to make a direct contribution to the editing and encoding that every piece of archival content has to undergo to prepare it for online viewing. 500 hours of material has already been prepared - there are still more than 2,000 remaining in the vaults, just waiting for the opportunity to be shared. 
 
DONATE ONLINE

Keeping Wisdom Alive

Support Us

Wish for the Future

It is our wish for the future that we can continue to support Dharma development by making filmed content accessible. Our hope is that, once tested, our new website will become a hub of Dharma related activity.

We wish to bring the material from the source together with contemporary content - bringing current teachings online side by side next to original ‘source’ material. Through the engaging medium of film we can help bring the message of peace, compassion and true harmonious living to generations to come. We invite you to continue this journey with us…
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Have fun exploring the archive! over 500 hours of precious footage are waiting to be watched and shared...

 
EXPLORE THE ARCHIVE
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