A still photograph, a portrait, of a mountain; the north
face of Chomolungma - a peak also known as Mount Everest -
twenty-nine thousand feet high.
We hear a very young boy speak.
Mama, my story.
A woman speaks:
Portrait of a mountain - Khangbochen - craggy peaks covered
with snow, twenty-four thousand feet high.
Your father had been very ill,
We thought he would die, and some
animals had died.
Portrait of a mountain - Shishapangma - twenty-six thousand
And a yak. And chickens. And we
had four years of bad crops, all
the farmers did.
Portrait of a mountain - Anye Machin II - twenty thousand
feet high and slightly obscured by clouds.
In the night, I knew you were coming.
Now, the foothills. The still photograph of this barren
mountain range comes to life as we see something moving.
It is a small caravan - traveling this narrow mountain pass.
At dawn, you were born.
CLOSER on this caravan. We can make out eight or ten men,
walking, and on horseback, dressed in heavy, brocade coats,
and large woolen hats, black braids trailing down their
backs. A yellow palanquin is carried by four large monks,
wearing maroon robes.
The caravan reaches the top of the mountain pass and turns -
a sudden shift in direction - a switchback. The travelers
Now, we see the mens's destination. A lake. An incredibly
blue, circular lake, sunk between snow-dusted mountains. It
is LHAMO I' LATSO - "the Oracle Lake" - and it shimmers in
As the lake comes into view, a young man pushes back the
curtain of the yellow palanquin and peers down at it.
The man is dressed in royal robes. He is young, twenty four
years old. His name is RETING RINPOCHE. He is the Regent
The color of the lake changes - from brilliant turquoise, to
a deep, murky, unfathomable darkness.
You were a beautiful baby.
The woman laughs.
Maybe, just a little.
The palanquin is set down on a flat rock overlooking the
lake. The water's color changes again, to a deep purple,
then blue again, then red, then indigo.
And that day, your father
got better. He named you Lhamo.
The noblemen and monks surround Reting as he steps out of
One man stands out here, a monk, a high lama in fact, with a
kind face and fantastic, mesmerizing eyes. He is the LAMA
Go to sleep, Lhamo.
Reting stares at the lake.
The water turns a light grey, and an image appears - obscure
at first, then becoming more solid. A vision.
He sees a house - a small, stone, one-story, u-shaped house.
The house has a flat, tile roof and an unusual, wooden rain
gutter, with windows outlined in black and a prayer flag in
the courtyard. A spotted dog is in front of the house,
barking, though we cannot hear him. The vision becomes
completely clear, for an instant - clear enough to see the
face of a young boy at the window.
CLOSE on Reting Rinpoche. Looking. Searching.
a portrait of a mountain: Kyeri - a majestic,
glacier mountain - the "house mountain" of the village of
Takster, Amdo Province, North Eastern Tibet.
Sound returns as the wind whistles around this jagged,
mountain peak and then the view moves down, below the tree
line, and into the rhododendron forest and the farmlands,
until it comes to rest on a small, stone, u-shaped house. A
house caught in the dawn's mist.