Past Event

"Tukdam: Between Worlds" - Film and Panel discussion

December 6, 2022
6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
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Dodge Hall, Lifetime Screening Room (Room 511) 2960 Broadway

The film "Tukdam: Between Worlds" follows the first ever scientific research into tukdam by renowned neuroscientist Richard Davidson’s team, juxtaposed with meditators’ death stories and Tibetan understandings of the death process – which include ideas about consciousness and the mind-body connection that are very different to those of mainstream science. Unfolding in cinematic dialogue between scientific and Tibetan perspectives, the film unravels our certainties about life and death, and shows how differently death can be construed in different cultural contexts. In this encounter between worlds, the scientists' methods and views are challenged by a civilization where death has been a central preoccupation for centuries.

The film is by Donagh Coleman, a PhD student at the University of California - Berkeley, who received the 2022 Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Dissertation Fellowship in Buddhist Studies for this research project. A documentary-maker working both in film and radio, Coleman has spent long periods of time in India, China and Tibet; much of his filmmaking engages these regions and cultures. Coleman also directed "A Gesar Bard's Tale" (2013), and "Stone Pastures" which won the Grand Prix at the 2009 Cervino Cinemountain Festival in Italy, and "Une Année Sur Le Toit Du Monde" commissioned for the European public service channel for culture ARTE's primetime program Decouverte in 2007. Donagh has also worked for current affairs television and radio in Beijing and writes for Finnish newspapers on Asian topics.

Moderated by William McGrath, Assistant Professor of Buddhist Studies, New York University; introductions by Gray Tuttle, Leila Hadley Luce Assistant Professor of Modern Tibetan Studies in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures; and Lauran Hartley, Director of the Modern Tibetan Studies Program and Adjunct Lecturer in Tibetan Literature in the Department of East Asian Languages and Culture at Columbia.

Cosponsored by WEAI and the School of the Arts Film Department, Columbia University

Contact Information

Lauran Hartley