Perhaps it shows my ignorance, but I thought all you had to do to be a good Buddhist was to chant and stay light on material goods. I mean, if Allen Ginsburg played himself off as a practicing Buddhist, how hard could it be?

Like any religion, though, there are the extremists. We meet them here, crossing thousands of miles on a pilgramage to the Tree of Enlightenment. . .many giving prostrations (which are like Zen-style squat thrusts) all along the route. One man took three years to get there, his skin frayed and bones phsyically altered. There are treks around a mountain, the tossing of barley dumplings and banging of little drums. Most remarkable is the creation of a giant sand painting, incredibly detailed and fragile. I don’t have to tell you what they do with it when they finish.

A fascinating look into a completely alien culture, albeit a bit of a “straight doc” by Werner Herzog’s standards.