The Oracle

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For more than four hundred years, the State Oracle of Tibet has been cloaked in secrecy — a strange and mystical side of the Tibet of old that has been carried into the modern world by the Tibetan Diaspora. The Nechung, as he is known among the Tibetans, is an ancient spirit who they believe is devoted to the Tibetan people and particularly to the Dalai Lamas — so much so that he has been a participant in strategic decisions of state over the centuries.

When the Dalai Lama fled the country in 1959 it was on the advice of the Oracle, who gave the precise route and timing to avoid the Chinese troops that surrounded the capital. Through a succession of thirteen mediums the State oracle has served in this consular role. When an old medium dies the oracle spontaneously re-appears in someone else. In the case of the State Oracle the new medium is tested quite rigorously, almost scientifically.

Filmmaker David Cherniack was given permission from the Dalai Lama to film events and ceremonies that had never been seen before.

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