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The Knowledge of Healing

   1998    Medicine
The documentary 'The Knowledge of Healing' is an illuminating examination of Tibetan medicine, a practice which has developed over two millennia into a modern day successful method of healing that rivals western medical practices. Unlike Western medicine, based on biochemistry, Tibetan medical thinking (which is strongly rooted in Buddhist principles) views the human body as governed by an elaborately organized system of energies flowing through a network of channels. In the 12th century, the Gy├╝shi (Knowledge of Healing) was created, a text codifying this intricate system. The medications used comprise herbs, roots, minerals, etc. After flourishing for centuries, most Tibetan medical schools were destroyed by the Chinese in the 1950's and 1960's, and many physicians were executed. Speaking from exile, the Dalai Lama argues for the value of Tibetan medicine, while his personal physician Dr. Tenzin Choedrak describes the principles behind it. We follow physicians in India and Siberia treating patients for a variety of ailments from paralysis to heart disease, and meet researchers in Israel and Switzerland to see how western clinical studies are testing the effectiveness of Tibetan medicine.

Heart of a Dog

   2015    Culture
Laurie Anderson embarks on a cinematic journey through love, death and language. Cantering on Anderson's beloved rat terrier Lolabelle, who died in 2011, the film is a personal essay that weaves together childhood memories, video diaries, philosophical musings on data collection, surveillance culture and the Buddhist conception of the afterlife, and heartfelt tributes to the artists, writers, musicians and thinkers who inspire her. Fusing her own witty, inquisitive narration with original violin compositions, hand-drawn animation, 8mm home movies and artwork culled from exhibitions past and present, Anderson creates a hypnotic, collage-like visual language out of the raw materials of her life and art, examining how stories are constructed and told - and how we use them to make sense of our lives.

The Buddha

   2010    History
After 400 BC, a new philosophy was born in South east Asia, generated from the ideas of Buddha, a mysterious Prince from India who gained enlightenment while he sat under a large, shapely fig tree. He remains one of the most legendary and influential of all religious progenitors, but what of his actual life? In this biographical documentary, director David Grubin tells the historical tale of Gautama Buddha (563-483 BC), from his initial enlightenment through his death around the age of 80. In the process, Grubin makes an unusual point: that Gautama never once claimed to be God or God's emissary, but instead sought to find a way to bring peace and alleviation from suffering to others in a cruel and often insane world. In telling this story, Grubin combines a number of elements including original animations, testimony by contemporary Buddhists such as the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, glimpses of sculptures and paintings that help tell Gautama's story, and much more. Narrated by Richard Gere

Silk Roads and China Ships

   2016    History
Michael Wood tells the tale of China's first great international age under the Tang Dynasty (618-907). From the picturesque old city of Luoyang, he travels along the Silk Road to the bazaars of central Asia and into India on the track of the Chinese monk who brought Buddhism back to China. This tale is still loved by the Chinese today and is brought to life by storytellers, films and shadow puppet plays. Then in the backstreets and markets of Xi'an, Michael meets descendants of the traders from central Asia and Persia who came into China on the Silk Road. He talks to Chinese Muslims in the Great Mosque and across town hears the amazing story of the first reception of Christianity in 635. Moving south, Michael sees the beginnings of China as an economic giant. On the Grand Canal, a lock built in 605 still handles 800 barges every day! The film tracks the rise of the silk industry and the world's favourite drink - tea. Michael looks too at the spread of Chinese script, language and culture across east Asia. 'China's influence on the East was as profound as Rome on the Latin West', he says, 'and still is today'. Finally, the film tells the intense drama of the fall of the Tang. Among the eyewitnesses were China's greatest poets. In a secondary school in a dusty village, where the Chinese Shakespeare - Du Fu - is buried in the grounds, the pupils take Michael through one famous poem about loss and longing as the dynasty falls. And in that ordinary classroom, there is a sense of the amazing drama and the deep-rooted continuities of Chinese culture.
Series: The Story of China
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The Story of Maths

   2008    Science
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Evolution
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   2004    Science
Kingdom of Plants
Kingdom of Plants

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Generation Iron
Generation Iron

   2017    Culture