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What moves young, educated people to give up lives of material security for a spiritual quest that confronts uncertainty?
Filmed in the gorgeous countryside and ancient cities of India and Turkey, Through the Eastern Gate is a compelling documentary following the journeys of three young people who have turned their backs on the material comforts and distractions of the West to find meaning in the spiritual philosophies of the East.
Sister Yeshe Chodron’s journey leads her from Australia to the foothills of the Himalayas and life as a Buddhist nun. On a riverbank in southern India, Ronela Vainio, a native of Finland, immerses herself in tantric yoga. Lastly, Californian Aziz Abbatiello discovers his calling as a Sufi dervish in Turkey, where he prays, sings, and spins himself into spiritual ecstasy.
The idyllic settings in which these young people practice their disciplines sharply contrast the cramped landscape of the West and the often aimless lifestyle of their peers. The lives of the three spiritual novices, however, are not without challenges. They must leave their family behind and make material sacrifices. Ronela admits, “My family still wonders why I wanted to go so far away, why I don’t live like a normal human being.” In addition, attaining true spirituality requires tremendous effort and the patience to delve deep beneath the surface and not be distracted by the trappings of this world. “It’s easy to go around in circles”, says Aziz, “but to empty yourself of yourself, that’s a struggle”.
Runtime: 51 minutes
Copyright: © 2007 Vidya Films. All rights reserved.