Director John Bush with Tenzin L. Choegyal, one of the narrators and nephew of the Dalai Lama

As a filmmaker who has been practicing Vajrayana Buddhism for over 30 years, I was thrilled to travel to Tibet to shoot Vajra Sky Over Tibet, completing my film trilogy: Journey Into Buddhism.

After my arrival in Lhasa with my associate producer Nadine Helstroffer, on first impression people seemed somewhat free to practice their faith and some of what had been destroyed under Mao and the Cultural Revolution was now rebuilt. Only after talking to many Tibetans did I fully realize that this was actually an elaborate stage management by the Chinese authorities to lessen international criticism of their Tibet policies and to satisfy tourists.

It was also revealed to be a cynical strategy of atheist Chinese politicians, co-opting this 1500 year-old spiritual tradition into their full control. I then saw the Tibetan faithful responding to this repression with a defiant ardor, and overt displays of devotion.

As a western Buddhist many doors opened to me and my camera as Tibetans wanted the world to know that their exquisite traditions are still alive but under serious threat. If we in the West are being called upon to help save Tibet, I wished to show why it is worth saving. Listening to the inspired elegance of its spiritual concepts, seeing its luminous art, hearing its magical harmonies, and witnessing the profound depth of its faithful might induce us to act before it were to fully disappear.

Receiving the endorsement of His Holiness The Dalai Lama, and offering his special message for the film was an enormous motivation in bringing this work to the world. His generous message was pure inspiration.

John Bush

"The definitive film about Tibet in the 21st century.” -Buffalo News

"Could melt the most brittle heart. Critics Choice!” -New York Magazine

John Bush is a photographer and filmmaker who has lived and traveled in Asia for more than three decades, sharing its sacred sites, culture, and images in his work. His films and images are in museums, libraries, and private collections around the world. He first traveled to India on Yatra in 1970 and has studied with many of the great Asian masters. His principal Tibetan teacher was Kalu Rinpoche — one of Tibet’s most esteemed meditation masters. He has been been a student of The Dalai Lama for the last 25 years. John has practiced and taught in the major traditions of Buddhism.

His studio, Direct Pictures, is in the East Village of New York City. John has completed his Asian film pilgrimage — Journey Into Buddhism: Dharma River, Prajna Earth, and Vajra Sky Over Tibet. The films have played in dozens of major festivals, countless theaters and are screening in prestigious venues around the world including: The National Gallery of Australia, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Danish Film Institute, Copenhagen and The Asian Civilizations Museum, Singapore.