When The Iron Bird Flies


'When the iron bird flies and horses run on wheels, the Tibetan people will be scattered like ants across the face of the earth." ~ Guru Padmasambhava of Tibet, 8th Century

"When the Iron Bird Flies offers a lively, gripping and down-to-earth introduction to the most basic of human truths: the ways in which our minds are never lastingly satisfied and our existential uneasiness -- and how we can finally find peace. I highly recommend it"  Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence

"This film is a riveting, poignant and beautiful window into the flowering of Tibetan Buddhism in the West...it touches the place in us that longs to realize the truth and live from our awakened heart" – Tara Brach, Buddhist teacher and author of "Radical Acceptance"

"It is with deep pleasure that we watch this glorious documentary unfold with its affirmation of the efforts of Tibetan teachers to make this religion relevant to the needs and concerns of Westerners. When the Iron Bird Flies is a creative and wide-ranging guide to the spread of a rich spiritual tradition. It’s an invaluable resource to newcomers and seasoned devotees of Tibetan Buddhism” – Spirituality and Practice

"When the Iron Bird Flies paints a compelling portrait of modern Tibetan Buddhism outside Tibet. We watch crimson-clad monks and nuns using cell phones and riding in golf carts, and countless Western converts—some in robes, some in jeans—studying and practicing the dharma in homes, temples, schools, and prisons from India to Britain to America to Mexico.” – Tricycle Magazine

"Vivid and engaging…viewers of the film will come away with the discovery that they have learned a great deal. But even more, their hearts will have opened and perhaps melted by the uplifting gift of genuine spirituality" – Light of Consciousness


In 1959, the Chinese invasion of Tibet threw open the doors to the mysterious realm of Tibetan Buddhism and suddenly this rich, ancient tradition was propelled into the modern world. Half a century later, Padmasambhava’s prophecy has come true and the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism are found in every corner of the earth.

WHEN THE IRON BIRD FLIES takes us on an up-close and personal journey following the astounding path of one of the world's great spiritual traditions from the caves of Tibet to the mainstream of Western culture. Along the way, the film tackles the provocative exchanges between Buddhist practitioners and scholars and Western scientists, psychologists, and educators now at the heart of the emergence of a genuine Western tradition of Buddhism.

And the film investigates the question: “In these increasingly challenging times, can these profound teachings help us find genuine happiness and create a saner, more compassionate 21st century world?”

Through candid interviews with contemporary teachers and practitioners, rare archival footage, and striking images of modern life that illuminate and make accessible the Buddha’s core teachings, the film creates a vivid and entertaining portrait of the world of Tibetan Buddhism, as it is manifesting in America and the West.


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