Daughters of Wisdom


Director: Bari Perlman

From outside the familiar political narratives of contemporary Tibet comes the story of Kala Rongo, a rare and exceptional Buddhist Monastery for nuns situated in Nangchen, on the Northeastern plateau.

For centuries, monasteries have served as spiritual and educational centers for the people of remote and rural areas like Nangchen. When they were destroyed by the Communist Chinese Army between 1958 and 1979, Buddhism was banned, and Tibet’s cultural foundations were severely weakened. Since the 1980s, restrictions have eased and monasteries are being rebuilt, particularly in rural areas.

Still, monastic life is mostly available only to men as it has long been believed that educating a woman is a waste of valuable resources. But in Nangchen, all that is changing. Founded in 1990, Kala Rongo Monastery is granting women choices they’ve never had before, offering them unprecedented educational and religious training, and enabling them to help preserve their rich cultural heritage even as they slowly reshape it. DAUGHTERS OF WISDOM is an intimate portrait of these women, and the story of their spiritual community, one that couldn’t have existed 20 years ago but is thriving today.

USA-Tibet | 2007 | Dir. Bari Perlman | Doc | 68 min