June 29,2017--A new movie featuring Tibetan Buddhists has inspired 76-year-old Danma Jamyangtsultrim to do something big with the rest of life - preserving a time-honored epic through a comic book series.
The film, "Paths of The Soul," tells of 2,000-km pilgrimage journey that Tibetan villagers make to a holy mountain in a simple and plain style. It hit domestic screens a week ago and has done well at the box office.
Comic strips could prove a popular way to preserve the Epic of King Gesar. The story, with more than 120 episodes and 1 million lines, is believed to be the world's longest. It tells how a demigod Tibetan king of the 11th century conquered the devils of other tribes and brought help to ordinary people.
The epic has been passed down orally by singers, most of whom were illiterate herders or peasants from Tibet, Inner Mongolia or Qinghai, who often claimed they were spontaneously able to repeat the lines after a strange dream or a serious illness.
"For me, telling the epic through a comic book series is both a mission and an act of devotion," said Danma Jamyangtsultrim, a recognized master of the epic in northwest China's Qinghai Province.
The epic is widely known among Tibetan people, no matter what their educational level, he said. The master learned the epic from a monk and has transcribed and translated multiple volumes.