"In writing fiction, the more fantastic the tale, the plainer the prose should be. Don't ask your readers to admire your words when you want them to believe your story." - Ben Bova [ more quotes ]

"KUNDUN"

by

Melissa Mathison



The Himalayas.

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.

BOY (V.O.)
Mama, my story.

A WOMAN SPEAKS:

WOMAN (V.O.)
Again?

BOY (V.O.)
Tell me.

Portrait of a mountain -- Khangbochen -- craggy peaks covered
with snow, twenty-four thousand feet high.

WOMAN (V.O.)
Your father had been very ill, we
thought he would die, and some animals
had died.

BOY (V.O.)
Cow.

Portrait of a mountain -- Shishapangma -- twenty-six thousand
feet high.

WOMAN (V.O.)
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.

WOMAN (V.O.)
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.

WOMAN (V.O.)
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
head downhill.

BOY (V.O.)
Tell me.

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
the sunlight.

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 of
Tibet.

The color of the lake changes -- from brilliant turquoise,
to a deep, murky, unfathomable darkness.

WOMAN (V.O.)
You were a beautiful baby. So calm.

BOY (V.O.)
No cried?

The woman laughs.

WOMAN (V.O.)
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.

WOMAN (V.O.)
And that day, your father got better.
He named you Lhamo. "The Protector."

BOY (V.O.)
I know.

Silence.

The noblemen and monks surround Reting as he steps out of
the palanquin.

One man stands out here, a monk, a high lama in fact, with a
kind face and fantastic, mesmerizing eyes. He is the LAMA OF
SERA.

WOMAN (V.O.)
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.

CUT TO:

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.

CLOSE on the face of a sleeping child: a boy, LHAMO DHONDRUP,
age two and one-half years. He is dreaming. He is about to
wake up.

Today, his life will change.

We stay on the boy's face until, slowly, his eyes open --
beautiful, dark, eyes.

INT. TIBETAN PEASANT HOME, KITCHEN DAWN (1937)

The MOTHER walks past the boy, her woolen skirt swaying in
the rosy light. A seven year-old brother -- LOBSANG SAMTEN --
and a teenage sister -- TSERING DOLMA -- share Lhamo's kitchen
mattress. Lhamo looks at them, and then he turns to see the
heavy felt boots of his FATHER, as the man walks through the
room and out the door. Lhamo finds the kind face of his
MOTHER. She is looking at him.

EXT. COURTYARD DAWN

The boy walks across the stone courtyard as we hear the sounds
of this country morning: the snorting of horses, clucking of
hens, a command from the Father as the man feeds the animals.

The boy scratches, he pees. He sees his Mother on the roof.

She is a silhouette against the dawn, as she feeds cedar and
yak chips into the incense burner -- sending white, curly
smoke up, to circle the prayer flag and its clusters of
printed mantras.

We pull back as the spotted dog begins to bark.

Lhamo's house is the house in the vision.

INT. KITCHEN MORNING

It is a good day. There is cheese for breakfast.

Lhamo's Father sits on a cushion at the head of a low table.

Fresh bread appears, yogurt, roasted barley (tsampa).

Lhamo pushes at his Father.

LHAMO
Me.

FATHER
No. This must stop.

LHAMO
Me. Here.

FATHER
I am the father. You sit there.

LHAMO
Me here.

MOTHER
What is the harm?

FATHER
He will grow up all wrong. Only you
can serve him, only you can wash his
bowl. Too tidy, everything just so.
He must know his place.

LOBSANG SAMTEN
He thinks he is king here. No respect.

MOTHER
What is the harm?

The Father reluctantly gets up and gives his seat to Lhamo.

Lhamo settles and waits for his Mother to hand him his bowl
of tsampa. He bestows a most beautiful smile on his family.

EXT. COURTYARD DAY

The Father is leaving the yard with a short string of horses
when there is a sudden commotion.

The CHINESE GOVERNOR is passing through this little village.

He is a ferocious looking man, dressed in ornate brocade,
his horse equipped with tack that looks like armor. He is
surrounded by a dozen Chinese soldiers, all on huge horses,
ruling the road, kicking up mud.

Lhamo's Father stops. He holds still. He looks to the house.

The Mother is holding the children against her in the doorway.

Quiet. Watching.

The Governor and his entourage move on. When they are out of
sight, Lhamo's Father makes his departure.

EXT. COURTYARD DAY

Lhamo straddles the window sill, slapping his bottom as if
he were a horse, shouting:

LHAMO
I go away. Look, mama, I go away.
Far, far, far.

His Mother is making bread in the kitchen.

MOTHER
Oh, no. Where will he go?

LHAMO
Far, far away.

INT. KITCHEN DUSK

Lhamo is playing a game with pebbles on the raised, wooden
platform in the kitchen. The fire is lit. He is alone.

The dog begins to bark.

MOTHER (O.S.)
Good day.

MAN (O.S.)
Good day.

MOTHER (O.S.)
Please, come in, so cold.

MAN (O.S.)
We are traveling to Lhasa. May we...?

MOTHER (O.S.)
Of course, please, this way. Your
servant may use the kitchen.

MAN (O.S.)
Thank you.

A middle-aged man, the SERVANT, wearing heavy, ragged clothes
and wrapped boots, enters the kitchen.

Lhamo slides over so that the man can sit on the platform
beside him. The man picks up a few pebbles and drops them --
he knows the game.

We recognize this servant. His name is KEUSTANG RINPOCHE.

He is one of the monks we saw at the Oracle lake, the one
with the mesmerizing eyes. Keustang Rinpoche is the Lama of
Sera Monastery.

Lhamo sees a dark brown rosary around the Servant's neck and
immediately pulls at the string of beads.

LHAMO
Mine.

The Servant takes the rosary off and gives it to the boy.

Lhamo hangs the string of beads around his own neck. The
Servant makes a move to take back the rosary, but Lhamo
resists.

LHAMO
Mine.

SERVANT
Mine.

LHAMO
Please.

SERVANT
I will give it to, if you can tell
me who I am.

Lhamo looks up, into the man's piercing, black eyes.

LHAMO
The Lama of Sera. You come.

The Mother enters and immediately sees the rosary around her
son's neck. She gives it back to the Servant.

MOTHER
Lhamo, no.

Lhamo goes back to his game. The Mother hands the tired man
a slice of bread and a steaming cup of tea. The man's hands
are shaking. He cannot look the woman in the eye.

SERVANT
Thank you.

EXT. COURTYARD DAWN

The travelers make their departure at dawn.

As the party reaches the gate, Lhamo runs from the house,
crying:

LHAMO
Wait! No!

The men stop. Lhamo runs to the Servant.

LHAMO
Me, too. Me go, too. Lhasa!

Lhamo is in tears.

MOTHER
No, no, no. Lhasa! He always says he
will travel far away. He always wants
to go.

SERVANT
We cannot, young master.

LHAMO
You come back?

A pause.

SERVANT
We will.

The travelers head down the road.

Mother and child return to their home, the Mother carrying
the boy on her hip as he swings himself around to take a
last look at the strangers.

EXT. COURTYARD DAWN

The Father readies a pack train of horses. Lobsang and Lhamo
pull on the cinche straps.

EXT. FARMLAND DAY

The Mother plows with a heavy yoke attached to a large yak.

Lobsang Samten and Tsering Dolma help their mother.

Lhamo sleeps under an umbrella.

EXT. COURTYARD DAY

Lobsang and Lhamo running, carrying a bowl of eggs.

INT. KITCHEN NIGHT

Lobsang is wrapped in maroon wool, trying to hold still as
his Mother pins and stitches. Lhamo sits, sipping tea,
watching, woefully.

MOTHER
Say, Kumbum Monastery.

LOBSANG
Kumbum. It is not far away.

MOTHER
It is not far at all, and it is a
beautiful place. And your big brother
is abbott there. You will not be
alone.

LOBSANG
I will be very smart.

MOTHER
You will be fine. You will be a fine
monk.

INT. ALTAR ROOM DAWN

Lobsang pours water from one small, copper bowl into six
others, seven in all, placed on an altar before a statue of
Buddha. As the rest of the family watches, the Mother lights
the butter lamps, whispering:

MOTHER
Om mani padme hum. Om mani padme
hum.

EXT. COURTYARD DAY

Lobsang is perched on the back of a horse -- in front of his
Father. The two leave home, goodbyes having already been
said. Mother, sister and little brother remain behind.

EXT. PARENT'S ROOM NIGHT

Mother lies down with Lhamo, holding him.

MOTHER
Your father had been very sick.

MOTHER
He had been sick from the time you
began growing in me. We thought he
would die.

LHAMO
Cow.

MOTHER
Yes. A cow had died. One night, you
stopped all your moving, and I said
to your sister, "His time has come."

LHAMO
Me. First break of day.

MOTHER
At dawn, you were born. One eye was
closed, and your sister opened it
with her thumb. We gave you the sweet
drink.

LHAMO
I pooped.

His Mother laughs.

MOTHER
You did. We washed you and wrapped
you in sheepskin and took you to
your father. That day the father got
better. And that day, a pair of crows
came to nest in our roof. I just
remembered.

LHAMO
I miss my brother.

MOTHER
I miss him too.

CLOSE on the Mother as she holds Lhamo, now her only son at
home.

A view of Kyeri mountain turning from a pre-dawn purple to
light pink in the sunlight.

EXT. COURTYARD DAWN

The multi-colored prayer flags flap in the wind as the cock
crows and the animals come awake. Father exits the house and
begins his day.

EXT. SIDE OF THE HOUSE DAY

Lhamo is watching two bugs fighting when he hears the dog
bark. He climbs the low, stone wall and looks out at the
road.

Six TRAVELERS approach. Four of the men are dressed as
nobility, wearing red and gold silk. Two men are monks.

The Mother meets the men in the courtyard. A monk steps
forward. He bows.

LAMA
I am the Lama of Sera.

MOTHER
Sera Monastery? From Lhasa?

LAMA
Yes. We have business here.

Lhamo jumps off the wall. He carefully lifts the smaller
beetle from the path of the larger beetle. He places the
rescued bug safely in a clump of grass.

INT. PARENT'S ROOM DAY

CLOSE on the faces of the six men.

CLOSE on the small face of Lhamo as he looks down at the
bed.

Lying on a piece of yellow silk are many objects. There are
three of each type of object: three walking sticks, three
drums, three silver pens, three eating bowls, three bells,
three rosaries, three pairs of spectacles.

The Lama of Sera -- Keustang Rinpoche -- hands Lhamo the
rosary he had so coveted when the man first visited.

KEUSTANG RINPOCHE
This is yours, you say. What else
belongs to you?

Lhamo considers the request, then climbs onto the bed to
study the objects. The drum and the bell he chooses quickly.

Keustang Rinpoche watches the boy gather the items. He looks
at the yellow silk and the boy's small, fine hands.

He dares not look directly at the boy.

Lhamo picks up one walking stick -- a lovely, bronze-handled
one. He swings it around, but he finally rejects it in favor
of a plain, iron-handled stick.

He makes his own pile of these things, then looks at the
Lama of Sera.

KEUSTANG RINPOCHE
Yes, those are yours.

Keustang Rinpoche takes the boy's hands in his own. He turns
them over, examines them.

KEUSTANG RINPOCHE
With permission?

The Lama carefully pulls back the boy's overalls. There is a
little birthmark, like a conch shell, on his shoulder.

Keustang Rinpoche pulls up the boy's pants legs. There is a
funny skin marking on the legs, like tiger stripes.

The Lama rearranges the boy's clothing, then one more time,
takes the beautiful, little hands in his own and whispers:

KEUSTANG RINPOCHE
"Kundun"

He says to the others, in a soft, secretive voice:

KEUSTANG RINPOCHE
He is the Presence.

In the background, by an open curtain, we see Lhamo's Mother.

She says, softly:

MOTHER
My oldest boy is an incarnation.

KEUSTANG RINPOCHE
So is your youngest.

Keustang releases the boy's hands and brings his own closed
palms up to his forehead.

KEUSTANG RINPOCHE
I wish you long life.

The Mother begins to cry.

INT. ALTAR ROOM DAY

Little Lhamo, now dressed in yellow, fills the copper water
bowls with difficulty.

His parents stand beside him. They share one, frightened
curious look.

CLOSE on the statue of Buddha. It is an image of Chenrezig,
the Buddha of Compassion. He has eleven heads and four,
outstretched arms.

EXT. COUNTRYSIDE DAY

Lhamo sits in the saddle in front of his Mother. His Father
and Sister ride beside them, through an incredible, empty,
Tibetan landscape. A Monk rides lead.

EXT. EST. SHOT / KUMBUM MONASTERY DAY

Turquoise-roof, golden-pagoda, a beautiful, white-washed
monastery built against a terraced, green hillside of Amdo.

INT. PRIVATE ROOM, MONASTERY DAY

Mother pats her son Lhamo's unruly hair and makes a soft,
comforting sound. Lobsang is there beside his brother.

Lobsang is already dressed as a tiny monk -- in a maroon
robe, with short, clipped hair An older brother, TAKSTER,
age 17, a lama, is there.

The Mother lies:

MOTHER
I will be back in a few days.

LHAMO
How many?

MOTHER
Two.

Lhamo holds up two fingers.

LHAMO
This many?

MOTHER
Yes, yes. Your brothers are here.

Takster moves closer. She places the sad youngster in
Takster's arms.

MOTHER
One more kiss.

Lhamo kisses her, as does Lobsang and even Takster falls
into her arms for a moment. Then, she turns and goes, quickly.

A Monk appears. He produces a concertina and begins to play
for the little boy.

But, Lhamo begins to cry, through the music, through the
hugs of his brothers. As a result of Lhamo's tears, Lobsang
begins to cry. Takster holds them both. The music continues.

The older, wiser, Takster begins to cry, too.

The three brothers hold one another. Three brothers, three
monks, crying for their mother. The music continues, echoing
in this stone monastery.

The young "Kundun" is gently rocked by his older brother.

He begins to fall asleep.

DREAM SEQUENCE

The sound of the concertina becomes chanting and we see row
after row of monks, in a temple, their voices mingling in
the empty room.

View of a courtyard, with young novices, reciting. Lobsang
is among them.

BOYS'S VOICES (V.O.)
"May I be the doctor and the medicine,
And may I be the nurse, For all sick
beings in the world, until everyone
is healed."

A TEACHER, a very stern-looking monk, carrying a thick, flat
board, menacingly, behind his back, walks among the students.

A golden head of a Buddha -- a huge head -- appears to be
bursting through an archway at the end of a dark hallway.

The Chinese Governor stands, like a giant, against the blue
sky. Omnipotent. Frightening.

CHINESE GOVERNOR
I want him accompanied by my Chinese
soldiers.

Keustang Rinpoche, also a head against blue sky, argues:

KEUSTANG RINPOCHE
This is Tibet. We are not under your
authority.

CLOSE on the Chinese Governor.

CHINESE GOVERNOR
I want one hundred thousand Chinese
dollars, if you want the boy.

CLOSE on Keustang Rinpoche. Slowly, he nods.

An image of the Father and the Mother, standing in their
courtyard, staring at the departing search party.

The Mother asks over and over:

MOTHER
But why? Who is Lhamo? Who do they
say he is?

Her husband does not know.

View of the Mother, on the roof, feeding cedar and yak chips
into the incense burner. We hear:

BOYS (RECITING)
"May I be protector for those without
one."

DREAM SEQUENCE ENDS

Lhamo wakes up. He is in a brilliant, green room.

INT. STUDY ROOM, KUMBUM MONASTERY DAY

The stern-looking Teacher from his dream is there, reading
scripture, reciting:

TEACHER
"May I be a bridge, a boat, a ship
For all who wish to cross the water."

Lhamo looks down at the complicated words.

TEACHER
Can you recite?

The boy just waits, sad, lonely.

The Teacher offers Lhamo an apricot. Lhamo takes the fruit.

The Monk pats the boy's head, gently, and Lhamo takes shelter
in the kind man's massive robes. The view becomes sunlight
through deep, maroon wool.

INT. DRELJAM DAY

Thamo and Lobsang sit inside a "dreljam" -- a rough palanquin,
which is attached to two poles and carried between two mules.

The vehicle rises and falls, pitches and twists as it is
carried along the roadless, Tibetan plains.

Lhamo reaches forward and pulls back a curtain.

EXT. TIBETAN PLATEAU DAY

The boy is traveling with a caravan. It is not, in fact, an
enormous caravan, maybe fifty people, including: Lhamo's
family, members of the search party, monks, Muslim traders.

The dreljam DRIVER looks over at Lhamo and signals that the
boy should close the curtain.

Lhamo does so, only to lean across his brother to look out
the other side of his tiny carriage.

The other side opens to a view of the great, empty land. A
herd of deer grazes beside the travelers. Mountains rise in
the distance. A flock of geese flies overhead.

Lhamo closes the curtain.

INT. DRELJAM DAY

Lhamo elbows his brother. Lobsang elbows him back. The two
begin to squabble.

LHAMO
You have all the room.

LOBSANG
Don't be a baby, move over.

LHAMO
You move.

LOBSANG
You! You think you are so big!

They hit and pinch until finally the movement of the carriage
stops. The Driver reaches in through the open curtains and
separates the boys, each to his own side of the dreljam.

Inside his tiny carriage, young Lhamo now sits quiet and
composed.

EXT. CAMPSITE NIGHT

A cluster of fantastic, Tibetan tents are set up; white cotton
tents, with sharp corners, peaked ceilings and elaborate,
appliqued designs. Campfires glow, animals bed down, stars
shine overhead.

INT. TIBETAN TENT NIGHT

CLOSE on a group of ancient, stern-faced MONKS.

CLOSE on the baby-faced, Lhamo Dhondrup.

One Monk pulls a huge pair of scissors from his robes.

Lhamo makes a dive for the tent's door.

EXT. TENT NIGHT

Standing outside the tent is a BODYGUARD -- a huge, burly
man, wearing monk's robes. He turns to the boy. In one hand
he holds a big stick. His face is distorted and deformed by
a large tumor under one eye. It is a frightening sight.

He looks like a monster to the child.

Lhamo jumps back inside the tent. The Bodyguard closes the
appliqued flap.

INT. DRELJAM DAY

Lhamo has had a haircut. His Mother walks beside the carriage,
holding his hand.

LHAMO
Who am I?

MOTHER
We do not know.

EXT. PLAINS OF TIBET NIGHT

By candlelight, Lhamo is transferred from the rugged, simple
carriage, to one of exquisite, yellow silk.

INT. PALANQUIN JUST BEFORE DAWN

Lhamo peeks out of the silk curtain as he hears the arrival
of many horses, many men. SOLDIERS -- hundreds of Tibetan
soldiers -- surround the palanquin.

EXT. PLAINS, OUTSIDE LHASA DAWN

The yellow palanquin is carried across a human border of
Tibetan noblemen. These fantastic-looking men and women part,
and drop to the ground in prostration, as the palanquin moves
through their welcoming committee.

INT. PEACOCK TENT DAWN

Lhamo walks along a long, patterned carpet, looking up, at
this lofty tent's stunning, blue silk, ceiling.

He is led to a tall, wooden throne, and he is lifted, and
then he climbs to the top. Lhamo settles in a cross-legged
position on the brocade cushion.

He looks down.

Hundred of monks, abbots, noblemen, Nepalese, Bhutanese,
Chinese, even a red-headed Englishman -- they all bow to
Lhamo.

Reting Rinpoche, the young Regent of Tibet, the man who saw
this boy's face in his vision, stands below the throne. He
addresses the crowd:

RETING RINPOCHE
Chenrezi, the Buddha of compassion.

The Wish Fulfilling Jewel. The Fourteenth Dalai Lama.

And the Regent turns, hikes up his gorgeous robes, and
prostrates before the child.

RETING RINPOCHE
Long life.

In the crowd stand Lhamo's Mother and Father and Lobsang
Samten.

On their faces, we must see that they did not realize who
their son, their brother, was believed to be.

First the Mother, and then the Father, bow in front of their
youngest child.

MOTHER
Long life.

FATHER
Long life.

Finally, Lobsang.

LOBSANG
Long life, Lhamo.

We hear the sound of a great, Tibetan horn.

We hear peels of childish laughter.

INT. THE POTALA DAY

Lobsang and Lhamo skid, slide, skate down the endless,
slippery hallways of this huge, labyrinthine monastery.

Three Monks scurry behind the boys, trying to keep up, trying
to keep the young incarnate from slipping out of their sight.

They shout, in loud stage whispers:

MONKS
Kundun! Kundun!

The monks are no match for the little boys, who are quickly
out of sight.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS THE POTALA DAY

Reting Rinpoche sits cross-legged on the floor of this
brightly-painted, red room.

Across from him sits Lhamo, dressed in fine, yellow silk.

These are simple rooms, decorated with statues, deity scrolls
and mandalas, an altar to Buddha. Behind a glass case are
toys, mixed in with the Buddhist artifacts: dolls, puppets,
balls, blocks, trains.

Reting Rinpoche is speaking.

RETING RINPOCHE
Centuries ago, a young boy was born.
His name was Gedundrub. The night of
his birth, robbers came to his home
and his family fled hiding the baby
in a cattle pen. When they returned
the next day, the baby was safe.
They found him guarded by a pair of
black crows. He was the first Dalai
Lama. The Living Buddha of Compassion.
Now, you have chosen to come back to
this life once again.

Reting blows his nose.

RETING RINPOCHE
We name you Tenzin Gyatso.

CLOSE on Lhamo -- Tenzin Gyatso.

RETING RINPOCHE
Your job is simple. You are to love
all living things. Just love them.
Care for them. Have compassion for
them. "As long as any living thing
draws breath, wherever he shall be,
there in compassion, shall the Buddha
appear, incarnate."

At the curtain behind Lhamo, we notice the curly-toed shoes
of a monk, a man who must be standing in the next room.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS DAY

In the room immediately adjacent to this bedroom, we now see
the three Monks who chased the young boy down the slippery
halls.

They are the Dalai Lama's personal attendants -- the MASTER
OF THE RITUAL, the MASTER OF ThE KITCHEN, and the MASTER OF
THE ROBE. (It is the Master of the Kitchen who stands directly
behind the curtain.)

The LORD CHAMBERLAIN is also there. He is a monk. A tall,
angular man, with almost nordic features: large, round eyes,
a yellowish mustache, sharp nose.

All of these men will become quite familiar to us, as will
the man standing, listening, behind the attendants.

He is a sweeper, a man named NORBU THUNDRUP, age thirty. He
is tall, and gangly, with a wispy beard and a pock-marked
face.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOM DAY

RETING RINPOCHE
You will be the leader of the Tibetan
people when you come of age. Until
that time, I will be your teacher,
and as your Regent, I will rule in
your name. I will tell your Lord
Chamberlain you are ready to see
him.

INT. ADJACENT ROOM DAY

The Regent walks through this room on his way out.

A passing look from Norbu lets us know that Reting Rinpoche
is not well-liked.

RETING RINPOCHE
He will see you now.

The Lord Chamberlain goes to meet with the Dalai Lama.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOM DAY

The Lord Chamberlain bows to the boy and then unpacks his
parcel.

He has a rolled, parchment document.

He has a beautiful, carved, wooden box.

The Lord Chamberlain points to the mural on the wall behind
the boy. It is an elaborate, story-painting.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
Fifth Dalai Lama.

The boy looks.

The Lord Chamberlain points to a golden statue of a round
man in a peaked hat.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
Seventh Dalai Lama.

Tenzin Gyatso nods.

The Lord Chamberlain lifts a framed photograph of a bald,
charismatic man, with razor sharp eyebrows, pictured sitting
on a throne.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
Thirteenth Dalai Lama.

The boy looks at the photo.

The Lord Chamberlain places the state seal in the young boy's
hands and indicates that the boy should bring the heavy
instrument down hard on the parchment.

The boy does. The Lord Chamberlain scribbles a little
something on a tab of attached paper, then bows to the boy.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
Fourteenth Dalai Lama.

VIEW FROM A HIGH WINDOW

Outside, up a country path, young herders lead their cattle
in from the grazing fields. We can hear the boys singing --
a Tibetan street song.

TENZIN GYATSO (O.S.)
I am the good one. You be bad. The
bad man.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOM DUSK

The view comes in the window and reveals the young Dalai
Lama, sitting on the floor with Norbu Thundrup, the sweeper.

Tenzin Gyatso has arranged a battlefield of soldiers -- little
men, made of colored-dough.

NORBU THUNDRUP
My name is Norbu, Holiness. I will
be good, you be bad.

Tenzin Gyatso is ferocious in his strategy, taking Norbu's
men.

TENZIN GYATSO
I'm on a big mountain and hitting at
the bad men.

TENZIN GYATSO
And after the game, we're going to
trade. You just stay over there, no,
there!, Norbu, and I will shoot at
you. I want your land. I take it. I
am stronger.

NORBU THUNDRUP
I am braver.

Norbu Thundrup plays like a child. It is a fight to the
finish.

TENZIN GYATSO
I have more men.

NORBU THUNDRUP
I have smarter men.

Tenzin Gyatso has lost; he dissolves into tears.

NORBU THUNDRUP
Today you lose. Tomorrow you may
win.

Norbu snaps his fingers.

NORBU THUNDRUP
Things change, Kundun.

TENZIN GYATSO
Why is your beard so funny? Let me
touch this.

Tenzin touches the soft, bald, chin of Norbu.

TENZIN GYATSO
Soft.

And then, Tenzin Gyatso tries to snap his fingers. He cannot.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS DUSK

Tenzin Gyatso stands at the window, watching, listening.

His hands knead the colored dough into balls, ready to create
the next army, the future battleground, as he recites, softly:

TENZIN GYATSO
"As long as all living draw breaths,
there Buddha is."

Norbu Thundrup smiles as he polishes the floor, clearing it
of tsampa dough.

INT. GREAT HALL, THE POTALA DAY

The Great Hall in the Potala is the seat of Tibetan
Government.

These palace walls are hung with beautiful, old thangkas
(silk embroideries or paintings), depicting the life of
Buddha.

Inside the hall sits the acting government: the YIGSTANG and
the TSITANG -- four monks, four laymen -- all dressed in
their appropriate simplicity and elaborateness. These men
sit in two rows, facing one another. The senior monk and the
senior layman sit a bit forward. They are the speakers.

The senior LAYMAN is on his knees, speaking.

LAYMAN
I believe that the Regent is asking
for too high a reward for his part
in finding the Dalai Lama. Too much
money, too much land.

INT. HALLWAY DAY

Tenzin Gyatso peeks through a door at the great assembly.

The Lord Chamberlian stands behind him.

INT. GREAT HALL DAY

The Layman continues.

LAYMAN
Our treasuries are empty. Our army
is depleted. He would have us pull
the hair from our noses.

INT. HALLWAY DAY

The Dalai Lama is confused, but continues listening.

INT. GREAT HALL DAY

The Layman returns to his cross-legged position.

The senior MONK speaks.

MONK
We note this. Now, the Chinese.

There is audible expression of tension.

MONK
The Allies wish to build a supply
road from India, crossing Tibet, as
part of their war effort. The road
would lead directly to China.

The Layman gets to his knees.

LAYMAN
We cannot allow it. Right now, we
have a only a small Chinese mission
in Lhasa, the first since the
Thirteenth Dalai Lama threw them out
in 1912. The road would increase the
size of that mission. The Chinese
would try to control our trade, as
they did once before, control our
contact with the outside world.

INT. HALLWAY DAY

The Lord Chamberlain touches the boy's shoulder and Tenzin

Gyatso leaves his hiding place, as the speaker's voice fades
away.

As the two walk down the hallway, Tenzin Gyatso spots an
unusual wooden door. He lets the Lord Chamberlain get a little
bit ahead of him, and then the boy tries the door. It is
heavy. It almost opens.

INT. HALLWAY LATER, DUSK

Tenzin Gyatso and his brother Lobsang are pulling at the
heavy door. Behind them, in the distance, we hear:

MONKS (O.S.)
Kundun! Kundun!

The door opens. The boys disappear inside.

INT. STORAGE ROOM DUSK

A treasure awaits them.

It looks like Aladdin's cave -- full of odd, European items.

There are glittering music boxes, a porcelain sink, a gilded
mirror, a lacquered rocking horse. There are hats, umbrellas
and even a pair of lace-up, cordovan shoes.

Tenzin Gyatso lifts a reel of film. There are piles of
magazines and books. There is a stack of tires in the back
corner. The boys uncover a train set and a good collection
of lead soldiers. The Dalai Lama pockets a gold watch.

Just as the monks find their young charges and we hear them
at the door, Tenzin sees something truly spectacular. It is
a telescope.

The monks enter the room as the young Dalai Lama reaches for
this miracle.

TENZIN GYATSO
What is it?

THE ATTENDANTS
Ah, it is a telescope, Holiness.
With this you can see a long way.

TENZIN GYATSO
And, is it mine?

ATTENDANT
These are all gifts sent to your
predecessors.

LOBSANG SAMTEN
Yes! Then it is yours!

TENZIN GYATSO
I need it.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS NIGHT

We are in the adjacent room, listening, as Norbu Thundrup
tells a bedtime story.

Golden butter lamps burn before a statue of Buddha.

NORBU THUNDRUP (O.S.)
One night, not too long ago, an old
monk saw a woman in that very same
hallway where you ran away.

INT. BEDROOM NIGHT

The boy is in bed. The Sweeper finishes-off his story as the
boy wiggles deeper under the covers.

NORBU THUNDRUP
She carried a basket in her arms, a
big, heavy basket, and the old monk
cautiously approached. She opened
her basket and showed what she had.
Heads. Human heads. Only the heads.

TENZIN GYATSO
Is that true or pretend?

NORBU THUNDRUP
It is a story, you decide.

TENZIN GYATSO
Pretend.

NORBU THUNDRUP
As you say.

The Sweeper tucks the boy in as the Master of the Robe
finishes his nightly preparations and with a pat and a smile,
the two men leave the room.

A mouse steals a bit of tsampa from the offerings placed on
the altar before the Buddha.

Tenzin Gyatso peeks out from under his covers and looks to
see if those curly-toed shoes are visible under the partition.

They are. The Master of the Kitchen is still near.

Tenzin Gyatso pulls the golden pocket watch from under the
covers. He pries and digs at the back of the watch until he
succeeds in popping it open, revealing its miraculous insides.

Finally, Tenzin Gyatso's eyelids grow heavy. The camera passes
over his face, as his eyes close.

The boy begins to speak, mumble, as he falls asleep:

TENZIN GYATSO
"I be an island for those who seek
one, a lamp for light."

We find two scrolls; the first is PENDEN LHAMO, the special
protectress of the Dalai Lama.

She rides her wild mule through a sea of blood -- between
rows of jagged mountains. Pointed fingers and spreading toes,
her hair gone crazy, her fangs revealed -- the details are
incredible. A garland of freshly severed heads hangs around
her body, snakes hold up her skirt, five skulls form her
crown.

TENZIN GYATSO (V.O.)
"May I be a bed for all who wish to
rest, and a slave for all who want a
slave."

Beside her, on the second scroll is MAHAKALA. He is the fierce
representation of the Buddha of Compassion. Crows fly in the
clouds to the left of the terrifying, black, sixarmed figure.

A skull rosary is held in the upper right arm, a Trident is
held in the left hand.

The deity wears a crown of five skulls. He has three eyes.

He tramples an elephant.

We might have been in a dream, as the camera finally moves
back to find the peaceful1 protected face of the young Dalai
Lama. Asleep.

The camera moves across the mural devoted to the story of
the Fifth Dalai Lama. It is a fantasy of green, with mountains
and lakes and deities and monsters.

We find the statue of Seventh Dalai Lama, sitting on his
golden cushion, and we look, deep into the eyes of the
Thirteenth Dalai Lama. Fantastic. Deeper. Deeper.

TENZIN GYATSO
"May I be wishing jewel, a magic
vase...

VIEW THROUGH AN EYEPIECE

We see the Dalai Lama place his young eye at the viewfinder.

EXT. TERRACE, POTALA DAY

Norbu Thundrup holds the boy steady.

And, a wondorous view of Lhasa is presented.

Vendors hawk their goods to elegant ladies, wearing turquoise
jewelry and carrying silken parasols. Animals are herded
through town by young boys. Children play and squabble. A
white wall is covered with cartoons, lampoons -- political
posters -- picturing the Regent, perhaps, as a man holding
too much power.

TENZIN GYATSO
I want to go down there.

NORBU THUNDRUP
You can only go with attendants and
a big ceremony.

TENZIN GYATSO
I want to run down the street. I
want to buy a toy. Eat from the shops.

NORBU THUNDRUP
You cannot.

TENZIN GYATSO
I want to be a shepherd, taking those
goats and cows out to the hillside.

NORBU THUNDRUP
But you are not a shepherd, you are
the Dalai Lama.

TENZIN GYATSO
Maybe in the next life, the world
will not need a Dalai Lama.

NORBU THUNDRUP
I would not know. Maybe.

The view travels and we see a prison yard. Shackled men share
the yard with hairy, fat dogs.

One man looks up and sees that the yard is under surveillance.
Of course the men all know that this terrace belongs to the
boy Dalai Lama.

As the boy watches, first one poor, ragged man, then another
prostrates.

Tenzin Gyatso pulls away from the telescope. He waves to the
prisoners.

EXT. VALLEY OUTSIDE LHASA DAY (SUMMER, 1942)

The boy rides in his palanquin of yellow silk.

He is older now, seven or eight. He peers through the curtain.

A grand procession carries the Dalai Lama from the Potala to
his summer residence, the Norbulinka.

Monks walk in procession, as do members of the aristocracy,
wearing their finest gowns and jewelry, holding their finest
parasols, and soldiers, wearing ancient uniforms. There are
horses, banners and carriages. Bodyguards carry the Dalai
Lama's possessions -- wrapped in yellow silk. A band plays,
"God Save the King."

It is a magnificent display, and along the side of the road,
Tibetans prostrate in the presence of the boy, not daring to
look at him.

EXT. THE NORBULINKA DAY

Establishing shot of this lovely park.

It looks like a sweet, summer home compared to the looming
expansiveness of the Potala. It is filled with deer and
antelope, peacocks and nesting birds. An eccentric collection
of trees grow here -- some indigenous, some gifts -- bearing
flowers and fruit.

There are fish ponds and even a Kyichu river tributary nearby.

We find the young Dalai Lama standing by this tributary daring
to put one foot on a slippery, stepping stone. An Attendant
gently pulls him back.

Beyond the river, a herder leads a small group of braying
sheep towards town. The boy watches. He listens to the
herder's song.

EXT. GARDENS, NORBULINKA DAY

The Dalai Lama drops bits of food into a fish pond. He calls
the huge, lazy fish to come eat.

TENZIN GYATSO
Little ones first, only little ones.

The boy pushes the bigger ones away with a stick.

EXT. YELLOW WALL, NORBULINKA DAY

Tenzin Gyatso runs through an open gate in a mustard yellow
wall (which separates the Dalai Lama's residence from the
rest of the Norbulinka), and up the steps leading to a white,
one story, home -- his parent's.

INT. PARENT'S HOME, NORBULINKA DAY

A startling, blue room.

The young Dalai Lama leans on the table where is Father sits
eating pork rinds.

Lobsang is there, practicing his writing on a chalk board.

Tenzin Gyatso grabs one pork rind, then another, then a third.

LOBSANG SAMTEN
The Dalai Lama is not supposed to
eat pork. It is not good for your
brain.

The Father uses the grease from the roasted lamb on the table
to caress his long mustache and twirl each side into a point.

The Dalai Lama takes another, and then, suddenly, the boy
reaches up and for no reason, he pulls on his Father's
mustache, obviously hurting the man. The Father slaps the
boy's hand, hard.

The boy sits back, and begins drawing imaginary letters on
the tabletop with his slapped hand.

His Father reaches out and takes the hurt hand. He pulls the
boy into his arms.

FATHER
I am sorry, Lhamo.

TENZIN GYATSO
It is alright, Father.

The Master of the Robe knocks at the door. Father and son
look up.

MASTER OF THE ROBE
Kundun, you must come back now.

The young boy sits straight up on his Father's lap and says,
defiantly:

TENZIN GYATSO
Go away.

The surprised Monk backs away from the door.

FATHER
Not the way to talk to people.

TENZIN GYATSO
Can I do anything I want?

FATHER
No.

TENZIN GYATSO
But, I am in charge.

FATHER
Are you? Of whom?

The boy thinks.

TENZIN GYATSO
Can I save the sheep from going to
the market? So they don't die.

LOBSANG
You could buy them.

TENZIN GYATSO
Do I have money?

LOBSANG
What do you think?

TENZIN GYATSO
Do you have money?

FATHER
I do, now.

TENZIN GYATSO
And you have horses? You love horses.

FATHER
I do, beautiful horses. Thank you,
Holiness.

TENZIN GYATSO
Will you buy the sheep for me?

FATHER
Where will you keep them?

TENZIN GYATSO
Here. We'll collect them.

FATHER
I will buy them for you.

TENZIN GYATSO
Can I free the prisoners?

FATHER
Hmmm.

LOBSANG
You can't do anything real until you
are Dalai Lama.

TENZIN GYATSO
I am him.

LOBSANG
Not until you are eighteen.

MOTHER (O.S.)
You have escaped once more.

The Mother has been in the doorway, listening.

Tenzin Gyatso disengages from his Father's arms and goes to
his Mother. Tenzin reaches into one of her large, apron
pockets and finds nothing. Another. Nothing. He reaches into
her sash and pulls out a special-looking sweet. She takes
the boy's hand and leads him from the house.

LOBSANG
Go study. I get in trouble if you do
not study.

Lobsang looks at his Father.

LOBSANG
I do.

FATHER
Sometimes you strike the goat, to
scare the sheep.

LOBSANG
I am the goat. He is a naughty sheep.

FATHER
He will not be ours much longer.

CLOSE on the Father's face.

EXT. GARDENS, NORBULINKA DAY

The Mother walks the boy back to his residence, through the
gate in the yellow wall.

MOTHER
I have news. The Regent has resigned
his post.

TENZIN GYATSO
Is he a bad man? Norbu says he is
"lavish" and "willful". "How can he
give you monk's vows if he has not
kept them himself?"

MOTHER
Well, some say. It's not for you to
worry about. Another will be chosen.

TENZIN GYATSO
He was always nice to me. He found
me. He saw me in his dreams.

EXT. DALAI LAMA'S RESIDENCE, NORBULINKA DAY

They have reached the residence. The boy's Mother caresses
his little head.

MOTHER
I turn you over again, today, Lhamo.
One day, you will not be able to
come running to us.

TENZIN GYATSO
But you will always be here?

MOTHER
Me?

TENZIN GYATSO
You will always!

MOTHER
I have one more piece of news. A
baby is coming.

Tenzin grabs at her stomach and shrieks with laughter.

TENZIN GYATSO
Oh, Mama! Who will it be?

The Mother places her hands on Tenzin Gyatso's.

MOTHER
Oh, no! Who can it be?

A string of old monks, stand, waiting for the naughty boy.

INT. ENTRANCE HALL, DALAI LAMA'S RESIDENCE, NORBULINKA, DAY

The boy runs up the stairs and towards the old men, but he
stops and looks at a small cabinet standing, unobtrusively,
in a corner. Tenzin Gyatso goes to the cabinet and rattles
the locked door.

TENZIN GYATSO
My teeth! My teeth are in here!

A monk takes the boy by the hand and leads him down a hallway.

TENZIN GYATSO
My old teeth!

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS, EVENING

A bell and a dorge are laid out on a small table. Tenzin
Gyatso sits in front of this table.

A monk is chanting in low, deep tones, in the background.

The Dalai Lama's teacher, TAKTRA RINPOCHE, sits on the floor.

(Being the teacher, Taktra Rinpoche sits slightly higher
than the Dalai Lama.) Taktra is an older man, in his sixties.

He is stern, solid, no-nonsense.

Taktra Rinpoche begins a prayer.

TAKTRA RINPOCHE
"I take refuge in the three jewels,
The Buddha, the Dharma and the
Sangra."

But the boy leaps up from his table and goes to Taktra and
hangs around his neck, shouting:

TENZIN GYATSO
You recite! You recite!

Taktra gives the boy just the slightest of looks.

TAKTRA RINPOCHE
"I take refuge in the three jewels,
The Buddha, the Dharma and the
Sangra."

Tenzin Gyatso releases the Lama and goes back to his own
table.

TAKTRA RINPOCHE
"Until I attain enlightenment."

Taktra Rinpoche has a small table with the same hand
instruments in front of him. The teacher lifts the dorge, in
a particular fashion, and rotates it.

Tenzin Gyatso lifts his dorge. Taktra's hands move to the
boy's and show him the correct movement. It is tried again.

Now, the bell is lifted and rung.

TENZIN GYATSO
I would like you to be my new Regent.

Taktra stops. He nods to the boy.

As the chanting continues, Taktra Rinpoche begins a weaving
motion with his hands, delicate, beautiful, hypnotic.

Tenzin Gyatso copies the elder.

We are CLOSE on the boy's moving hands. The chanting becomes
the voices of a hundred men, as we FADE OUT.

FADE IN: on the boy's hands, but they are a little larger --
they are the hands of an eleven or twelve year-old boy --
and the motion they carry out is on the verge of becoming
extraordinarily beautiful.

INT. DARK ROOM, POTALA EVENING (1944)

Tenzin Gyatso sits alone, in a small, dark green, room. He
is older. His robes have changed slightly, his manner is
more refined, more dignified.

He is on a retreat.

There is a soft knock at the door. The door is opened and
food is placed inside the small room by bodiless hands.

Tenzin Gyatso collects his food. He sips his tea and eats
his tsampa, while reading from a long, narrow stack of
scriptures. Thangkas of MILERAPA -- the great Tibetan poet
and teacher -- hang on the walls.

We notice the curly-toed shoes of the Master of the Kitchen,
just visible beneath the wooden door.

EXT. COURTYARD, THE POTALA NIGHT

The boy walks alone, moving to the rhythm of a memorization.

His breath consolidates in the cold night air. The sky is
brilliant with stars.

TENZIN GYATSO
(reciting)
"As long as any living thing draws
breath, wherever he shall be, there,
in compassion, shall the Buddha
appear, incarnate."

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS, THE POTALA DAY

School is in session.

LING RINPOCHE is teaching. Ling is a young, shy, brilliant
monk, with a very round face. He is now senior tutor.

LING RINPOCHE
The Four Noble Truths.

Tenzin Gyatso, sitting cross legged on a cushion, responds.

TENZIN GYATSO
The Four Noble Truths, as taught by
the Lord Sakyamuni Buddha are: The
Truth of Suffering The Truth of the
Cause of Suffering, The Truth of the
Cessation of Suffering, the Truth of
the Way which leads to the cessation
of Suffering.

LING RINPOCHE
I accept it. What is suffering?

TENZIN GYATSO
True suffering arises from
contaminated actions and afflictions.
Birth, illness, grief, old age,
poverty, pain, death -- these are
surferings.

LING RINPOCHE
I accept it. What are the causes of
suffering?

TENZIN GYATSO
The causes of suffering arise from
true sources. Attachment, desire,
envy, hatred, greed, unkindness,
wrong view and so forth -- these are
some causes of suffering.

Now we CUT BACK to Ling Rinpoche, but he is standing, outside,
in a courtyard. He asks another question, but he raises his
right hand as he speaks, and lowers his left, completing the
question with a clap of the hands.

EXT. COURTYARD, THE POTALA DAY

It is a beautiful, blue-sky day. The Dalai Lama is learning
"debate". High Lamas sit on tapestry pillows, under appliqued
canopies, observing. Young monks can be seen, watching, from
a greater distance.

The Lord Chamberlain sits to one side. Taktra Rinpoche, now
Regent, is beside him.

The Dalai Lama sits on the ground at Ling's feet.

LING RINPOCHE
How does one progress from the
realization of one Noble Truth to
another?
(clap)

A long silence from His Holiness. The Lamas wait on tender
hooks. Finally, the boy says:

TENZIN GYATSO
We will have to think about that.

There is laughter. Even Ling Rinpoche laughs and the boy
erupts into his beautiful, free, easy laugh.

TENZIN GYATSO
I need to squeeze this brain.

LING RINPOCHE
Answer.
(clap)

A pause, and then:

TENZIN GYATSO
When one understands that he causes
some of his own suffering, needlessly,
then he looks for the causes in his
own life. And when and he looks for
those causes, when he investigates,
then he is putting confidence in his
own ability to eliminate the sources
and end the suffering. A wish to
find a path to peace arises. For all
beings desire happiness. All wish to
find their purest selves.

Ling nods in approval.

He looks to the elders.

LING RINPOCHE
I accept it.

Taktra Rinpoche and the Lord Chamberlain are proud.

EXT. SAME COURTYARD DUSK

Tenzin Gyatso runs up a slant board and leaps off the edge --
a big jump, a flying leap. He falls to the ground, then gets
up, laughing, and runs up the board again.

The same old monks who watched him debate, watch him play.

The Lord Chamberlain and Taktra Rinpoche are among them.

The Lord Chamberlain obviously loves watching his young charge
play. The Regent is not so sure.

TAKTRA RINPOCHE
Careful! Careful!

Tenzin Gyatso shouts:

TENZIN GYATSO
I need to jump! I love to jump!

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS, THE POTALA NIGHT

The Nechung Oracle is the protective deity of Tibet.

Tonight, he is in full trance. It is an amazing sight.

The monk who is his medium spins and twirls, he wags his
heavy headdress about. A round mirror glitters on his chest.

Sweat pours from his brow, over his wildly grimacing face.

The Oracle spits at the government officials in the room.

Horns blow, cymbals crash, incense burns. The Oracle nears
the Dalai Lama and retreats from him. Finally, he whispers
in the boy's ear.

ORACLE
Heed the warning of your predecessor.
Or the war will end here.

And then, the Oracle gently straightens Tenzin Gyatso's yellow
robes, before the trance ends and the Oracle falls into the
arms of his attendants.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS NIGHT

Wind whistles through the Potala's hallways and porticos.

The Master of the Kitchen is clearing away the dinner dishes.

The view of the floor reveals that a "toy" war is being waged.

With a "Meccano" set, the young Dalai Lama has created what
looks like an airplane, and a tank. These vehicles are manned
by beautifully detailed lead soldiers -- British World War
One Field soldiers, French Legionaries and American Artillery
men.

Norbu Thundrup, is flying low with a tsampadough airplane.

He drops little tsampa-dough bombs from his hand. He hits a
tank and knocks down a few lead soldiers.

TENZIN GYATSO
Oh, nicely done, Norbu. I will get
you.

The Lord Chamberlain enters.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
May I listen to the news with you,
Holiness?

TENZIN GYATSO
Please.

A large, old-fashioned, short-wave radio broadcasts that
there is still a real war in progress. The BBC report is of
the Pacific front.

TENZIN GYATSO
How big is Tibet's army?

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
Roughly five thousand men.

TENZIN GYATSO
Is that big?

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
No. Not very big.

TENZIN GYATSO
The Regent is adding men. And he
bought rifles and ammunition from
India. Mountain guns, too.

The broadcast reports news of the civil war in China.

TENZIN GYATSO
Will we be in this war?

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
No. This war is almost over.

TENZIN GYATSO
Will we ever be in war?

The Lord Chamberlain is silent. Norbu answers.

NORBU THUNDRUP
We have enemies.

TENZIN GYATSO
The Chinese.

NORBU THUNDRUP
Yes.

TENZIN GYATSO
But, surely, we are safe in Tibet.
We don't believe in killing.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
No, we don't.

Tenzin Gyatso gets to his feet and takes an atlas from his
table. He lays the book open on the floor.

TENZIN GYATSO
This is Britain.

NORBU THUNDRUP
Ahh.

TENZIN GYATSO
Where is Poland?

The Lord chamberlain sits on the floor. He points to Poland.

TENZIN GYATSO
Where is Pearl Harbor?

The Master of the Kitchen comes to look at the atlas.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
In the Pacific Ocean.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
It is an island. American territory.

TENZIN GYATSO
Where is Alsace?

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
I do not know, Holiness.

Tenzin Gyatso turns to a well thumbed page: Tibet.

TENZIN GYATSO
This is Tibet. And this is China.

NORBU THUNDRUP
Ahh.

They all look at huge China.

TENZIN GYATSO
Certainly, we are safe in Tibet.

No one answers.

Finally, as Norbu Thundrup begins to gather up the tsampa
dough:

NORBU THUNDRUP
We hope, Kundun.

Tenzin Gyatso turns to the Lord Chamberlain.

TENZIN GYATSO
What was the warning of the Thirteenth
Dalai Lama?

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
He warned about the future of Tibet.

TENZIN GYATSO
Tell me.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
When it is time.

INT. GARDENS, NORBULINKA DAY

His Holiness works on an old movie projector. A white-haired,
CHINESE MONK works with him. The old Monk has very little
patience. He bangs his hand on the table, and huffs and puffs
as the two try again to fiddle with this and that.

Tenzin Gyatso works diligently and calmly.

TENZIN GYATSO
Patience is the first of the Six
Perfections.

The old Monk mutters something in Chinese. They thread a
roll of dusty film into the reel and spin the wheel. The
film breaks. The old monk bangs the table again. The work
continues.

TENZIN GYATSO
One day, we will get that automobile
running.

The monks slaps his head in horrid anticipation.

INT. DARK ROOM, NORBULINKA NIGHT

A movie begins, shown on a piece of cloth tacked to a wall.

It is a newsreel -- footage from World War One. The trenches.

The boy goes up to the cloth screen and touches it gently,
playing with his own shadow as men dash from foxholes across
a muddy, body strewn field.

The boy steps back and stares at the horror of real war; men
sleeping in the muddy foxholes, make-shift hospitals tend
the dying. Youths -- not much older than His Holiness --
weep into their filthy, bloody hands.

The Old Monk keeps his trembling hand on the noisy, hand-
operated, projector.

Tenzin Gyatso slowly sits, cross-legged, on the bare floor.

War does not look good on film.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS, NORBULINKA NIGHT

The boy sits alone, in front of his altar, praying.

Meditating.

INT. ALTAR ROOM, THE NORBULINKA DAY

A black room, lit by butter lamps.

Taktra Rinpoche and Tenzin Gyatso sit opposite one another,
cross-legged on the floor. Taktra is the teacher, he sits a
bit higher.

The room is a shrine to Mahakala, the Dalai Lama's personal
deity. Mahakala is present, in the form of a huge, golden
statue.

The boy has his head bent low to catch the Rinpoche's words.

There is much gesturing, much murmuring. We might catch only
a word or two.

An oral teaching is being passed on, a lineage teaching. It
is sacred and secret.

EXT. UPPER COURTYARD, THE POTALA DAY

CLOSE on a thangka of Penden Lhamo.

We hear monks debating. It is Ling Rinpoche answering, playing
the student.

LING RINPOCHE
"To be born in a time when the Buddha
has appeared. To be born in a time
when the Buddha has taught. To be
born when the teaching of Buddha is
alive."

We find His Holiness, sitting, listening to the debate.

LING RINPOCHE
"To be born where the dharma is
practiced. To be born in a time when
people have compassion for other
people."

The view widens now and we are under a softly billowing,
appliqued canopy. Maybe fifty monks and lamas are present.

This is an informal group.

QUESTIONER
How is human life precious?

LING RINPOCHE
As a result of previous karma, you
have obtained this human life. By
means of this rebirth, through work
and study, you can attain all
everlasting happiness. In the words
of Shantideva: "With the boat of
this precious life, You can cross
the waters of Samsara. How rare to
find this boat!" "Oh, ignorant one,
do not fall asleep now!"

Shots ring out.

The men jump to their feet, and rush out from under the
canopy. The Dalai Lama is right in front.

More shots as the men stare out across the countryside.

We hear murmurs of:

VOICES
Sera, Sera Monastery. Reting. Under
arrest. The army is taking him right
past Sera! Monastery! Those crazy
monks! Have been threatening trouble.

Reting tried to assassinate Taktra Rinpoche.

We hear these snippets as the Dalai Lama runs from the group.

INT. HALLWAYS, POTALA DAY

It is almost black inside this old building. The panting boy
runs up and up and up several staircases.

INT. HALLWAY DAY

Tenzin Gyatso runs down the hall and enters his red rooms.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS DAY

Norbu Thundrup is in the room and he moves ahead of the boy
out to the terrace.

EXT. DALAI LAMA'S TERRACE DAY

Tenzin Gyatso climbs up on a small, wooden platform, and
mans his telescope.

TENZIN GYATSO
It's the army, firing on Sera
Monastery! Oh, no! Oh, no!

The shooting continues.

TENZIN GYATSO
Why is this? What is happening? Tell
me!

NORBU THUNDRUP
Reting Rinpoche has been arrested.
He tried to overthrow Regent Taktra.
Today, he is brought back to Lhasa
by government officials. The monks
at Sera Monastery have been on his
side. Now, there is trouble between
them and the army.

The Lord Chamberlain arrives on the terrace.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
I am sorry for you to have to witness
this, Kundun.

TENZIN GYATSO
Look here!

The Lord Chamberlain peers through the telescope as the
shooting continues.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
Tragic. Unnecessary.

The Lord Chamberlain steps away from the telescope and the
boy takes his place.

The shooting slowly stops.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
Holiness? I have a letter.

The boy looks up.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
The Thirteenth Dalai Lama's warning.

He wrote to you, the year before he died. The year before
you were born.

The Lord Chamberlain walks to a far, sheltered end of the
terrace.

Tenzin Gyatso slowly turns the telescope to see the prison
yard.

View through the telescope; the yard is full of prisoners,
listening to the shooting. One man sees the telescope aimed
at the prison and prostrates. Then another, and another.

Tenzin Gyatso steps away from the telescope and turns to
follow his Lord Chamberlain.

EXT. OTHER SIDE OF TERRACE DAY

The Lord Chamberlain opens a yellowing letter and begins to
read. Tenzin Gyatso sits down beside him.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
"It may happen, that here in Tibet,
religion and government will be
attacked both from without and within.
Unless we guard our own country..."

CLOSE on the Lord Chamberlain. Today, he appears tired; the
whites of his eyes appear enormous. His voice is quite
beautiful.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
"...it will now happen that the Dalai
and Panchen Lamas, the Father and

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
the Son, and all the revered holders
of the faith, will disappear and
become nameless."

Tenzin Gyatso unwinds the rosary from his wrist and begins
thumbing the brown beads.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
"Monks and their monasteries will be
destroyed. The rule of law will be
weakened. The lands and properties
will be seized. They themselves will
be forced to serve their enemies or
wander the country like beggars. All
beings will be sunk in great hardship
and overwhelming fear; the days and
nights will drag on slowly in
suffering."

He is finished.

TENZIN GYATSO
What can I do? I am only a boy.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
You are the man who wrote this letter.
You are the man who has come back to
lead us. You will soon have great
responsibilities. You must know what
to do.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS, ADJACENT ROOM, DAY

The Regent and the Lord Chamberlain are present.

Also present is the KASHAG -- a council of four men: one
monk, three laymen. They are the Dalai Lama's advisory
cabinet.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOM DAY

The boy rises from his desk. Norbu says:

NORBU THUNDRUP
You remember who you are. You called
for them.

Tenzin Gyatso enters the adjacent room.

INT. ADJACENT ROOM DAY

The boy climbs onto a cushion and sits -- a head above his
officials. He is tentative, unsure of form and procedure.

There is an awkward, formal silence. Then:

TENZIN GYATSO
Taktra Rinpoche, I understand there
was an attempt on your life.

TAKTRA RINPOCHE
It is possible, Holiness.

TENZIN GYATSO
You are unharmed?

TAKTRA RINPOCHE
Completely.

TENZIN GYATSO
Good. Where is Reting Rinpoche now?

KASHAG MEMBER
He has been imprisoned, here in the
Potala, Holiness.

TENZIN GYATSO
The Sera monks have surrendered?

KASHAG MEMBER
It is calm.

The boy motions to the table.

TENZIN GYATSO
Please, have tea.

The tea is poured.

TENZIN GYATSO
I need to know what you know. I am
no longer a child.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
Ask whatever you will.

TENZIN GYATSO
What is the danger from the Chinese,
now?

KASHAG MEMBER
Very complicated, Holiness. Let me
tell you current news. The Chinese
have launched a deceptive campaign
aimed at convincing the world that
Tibet belongs to China. We sent a
mission to the Chinese National
Conference. Our attendance was a
grave mistake.

KASHAG MEMBER
The Tibetans were introduced as
delegates from the "Chinese region
of Tibet". We protested this reference
and demanded a letter rebutting it.

TENZIN GYATSO
Did you receive the letter?

KASHAG MEMBER
We did not.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
The war is over. This is a time in
when nations are redefining
themselves.

TENZIN GYATSO
So, Tibet, too, needs to define
itself.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
Yes. As a free country. But our
attempts have proven futile. We
continue to be badly outmaneuvered
by the Chinese.

TENZIN GYATSO
Can India help us?

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
India is a newly independent nation.
They are struggling. India is in no
position to help us.

TENZIN GYATSO
Britain?

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
Britain chooses not to.

TENZIN GYATSO
And, America?

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
America, we shall see.

TENZIN GYATSO
Ask the Chinese mission to leave our
country. Immediately.

A shocking suggestion.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
Quite simple. Yes. Good.

TENZIN GYATSO
I shall send a letter to America, to
the President, informing him of our
problem.

The men agree to this.

TENZIN GYATSO
I want Reting Rinpoche well cared
for. He is my teacher. He found me.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOM NIGHT

The Dalai Lama sits at his desk, writing a letter.

The radio is on. It is the BBC -- with news of a Communist
advantage in Kuomintang China.

Norbu Thundrup enters. The boy looks up.

TENZIN GYATSO
Listen to this, Norbu.
(he reads:)
To Mr. Truman The President of the
United States of America I am glad
that you are enjoying the best of
health and doing good service to
uplift the happiness and prosperity
of the whole world. Here, I am well
and doing my best for the religion
of Lord Buddha and welfare of all
beings.

This is all, so far.

NORBU THUNDRUP
Reting Rinpoche has died in prison.

Tenzin Gyatso lays down his pen.

EXT. DALAI LAMA'S TERRACE NIGHT

Tenzin Gyatso is alone. He has a little smelting arrangement
built out on the terrace. He lays a lead soldier on the hot
bottom of a heavy, metal bowl.

CLOSE on the soldier. It begins to melt.

The boy has a pile of the soldiers. He drops a second one in
the bowl.

We bear the sounds of Lhasa -- laughter, street songs -- and
we see the stars, hanging, it seems, just above the young
boy's head.

EXT. NORBULINKA DAY

The young Tenzin Gyatso bursts through the gate in the Yellow
Wall and runs across the beautiful garden to his parents's
home.

INT. PARENTS'S HOME, NORBULINKA DAY

A family gathering meets the boy's eye when he enters.

There is his Mother, his oldest sister, Tsering Dolma, Lobsang
Samten, a younger sister, Pema, baby brother Tendzin Chuta,
and his oldest brother, Takster.

We don't recognize these faces, of course, but the gathering
is obviously familial.

Only the boy's Father is missing.

Tenzin Gyatso goes to his Mother and lays his head in her
lap.

On an altar behind her, is a silver frame. In the frame is a
picture of her husband.

DREAM SEQUENCE

EXT. HILLTOP DAWN

The body of the Dalai Lama's Father lays on a flat boulder.

Incense smoke curls into the air. Prayer wheels are turned,
hand drums are played -- the burial men stand off to one
side, their hatchets and knives in view.

Tenzin Gyatso is present. He is the boy we know, but beside
him stands the four year-old boy, Lhamo, from the beginning
of the movie, and on the other side of him stands the boy
who will play the Dalai Lama in the next section of the film

A BOY ABOUT FIFTEEN OR SIXTEEN.

Tenzin Gyatso wraps his brown rosary around his left wrist.

The beads catch the brilliant afternoon light. The sixteen
year-old Dalai Lama wears the same colored rosary around his
left wrist.

The cutters move in to the corpse, and as we hear them begin
the work of dismembering the body, the view pans up to reveal
the vultures circling overhead.

The last person leaving the hilltop with is the Dalai Lama
as an older man -- not a character from this movie -- but a
man of about fifty years, wearing glasses, wearing the same
robes, the same rosary. Little Lhamo walks beside him.

END DREAM SEQUENCE

EXT. SKY OVER TIBET NIGHT

We hear a loud explosion, and then another and another and
another. The sound begins to fade, but the blue-black,
peaceful, star-filled sky is shattered by bright bursts of
red and yellow and pink light.

It is a frightening sight.

EXT. GARDEN, NORBULINKA DAWN (1950)

The still waters of the fish pond begin to move. The fish
swim in nervous circles; the water laps over its stone banks.

EXT. DALAI LAMA'S RESIDENCE DAWN

The whole building shakes. Earthquake.

One monk runs down the stairs, another monk runs up, both
staring at a second floor window -- a black-rimmed, glass
window.

A red cloth is pulled back and the window is opened.

The fifteen year-old Tenzin Gyatso looks out.

There is a terrible rumbling: the rumbling that accompanies
an earthquake. Finally, slowly, the sound, and the movement
subsides.

CLOSE on Tenzin Gyatso. He lets the curtain fall.

INT. GREAT HALL, THE POTALA DAY

The General Assembly is in session.

Once again, the Yigstang and the Tsitang -- four monks and
four laymen -- sit facing one another. But the room is crowded
today -- this is a full session. The Lord chamberlain sits
in. Regent Taktra is there.

The senior Layman is on his knees.

LAYMAN
The Communist have control of China.

In the back of the room we notice an open door.

INT. HALLWAY DAY

The Dalai Lama is listening. He stands taller than the first
time we caught him eavesdropping. He still is not a part of
this assembly, but he doesn't seem to care if he is spotted.

INT. GREAT HALL DAY

The Layman continues.

LAYMAN
Now, as his great army, stands idle
on our borders, Chairman Mao has
presented Tibet with three demands:
One, Tibet must accept that it is
part of China.

A murmuring in the room.

INT. HALLWAY DAY

Shock on the face of His Holiness.

LAYMAN (O.S.)
Two, Tibet's defenses must be handled
by China. Three, all political and
trade matters concerning foreign
countries must be conducted through
China.

Voice shouts out:

VOICE IN BACK OF ROOM (O.S.)
Give the Dalai Lama his majority!

INT. GREAT HALL DAY

The senior Monk is on his knees.

MONK
We can concede that Tibet is a part
of China if we can guarantee that
the Dalai Lama's name and authority
will remain...

LAYMAN
And do you believe that the Tibetan
government will be allowed to continue
to function as it is? Do you believe
that our religion will be protected?

VOICES
Give the Dalai Lama his majority!

MONK
We have dealt with this Chinese
obsession for hundreds of years. We
can deal with it now.

LAYMAN
These are not the Chinese we know.
These are Communists.

VOICES
Make him Dalai Lama now!

We see the Lord Chamberlain look toward the open door.

INT. HALLWAY DAY

Tenzin Gyatso looks at his advisor, and then, he closes the
door as the demand for his enthronement continues.

He walks down the hall, past the door leading to the treasure
room, alone now -- an adult. He is wearing those European,
lace-up shoes found in the treasure room so long ago. They
are still too big for him.

EXT. TRIBUTARY OF THE KYICHU RIVER, NORBULINKA DAY

Tenzin Gyatso and Taktra Rinpoche walk side by side along
the waterway.

TENZIN GYATSO
If we agree that we are part of China,
nothing else will matter. Not trade,
not defense. We will be lost.

TAKTRA RINPOCHE
What would you do, Holiness?

The boy looks out over the water.

Shepherds are leading their flock of sheep back toward town
on the far side of the tributary.

The two men stand side by side, one so young, one seeming so
old.

TENZIN GYATSO
What should I do about my doubt,
Teacher?

TAKTRA RINPOCHE
It is a difficult situation.

TENZIN GYATSO
I mean, my doubt. Why me? Am I Him?

TAKTRA RINPOCHE
Doubt is an affliction. Reliquish
it. Accept.

Pause.

TENZIN GYATSO
I believe we must make no concessions
to the Chinese. But, I am one voice.
The Dalai Lama has always trusted in
the forces of Buddha. Let us consult
the protective deities.

Taktra Rinpoche bows and leaves him.

Tenzin Gyatso stands alone by the river. The boy watches the
herders, and before the young shepherds disappear from sight,
the Dalai Lama turns and waves a hand behind him.

Two Bodyguards approach. We can not hear, but as the Dalai
Lama walks away from us, down the river, one Bodyguard runs
up river, shouting:

BODYGUARD
(shouting)
We will buy them! We will buy them!

INT. ALTAR ROOM, NORBULINKA DAY

In this black room, under the protective view of the statue
of Mahakala, a divine lottery is performed.

Tenzin Gyatso, the Regent Taktra Rinpoche, The Lord
Chamberlain, the Kashag, the Yigstang and the Tsitang are
all present.

Tsampa-dough balls are made, three of them, each containing
a strip of parchment, bearing writing. The dough is shaped
and weighed to see that each ball is equal.

Then, the three balls are placed in a silver bowl and the
bowl is spun. The balls whirl, race, and finally one leaps
from the bowl.

This ball is taken to the Dalai Lama and he makes a mark on
it. The ball is returned to the bowl, the procedure is
repeated, and a ball leaps again, almost immediately. This
ball is presented and the Dalai Lama places his mark -- next
to the mark he just made. It is the same ball.

Tenzin Gyatso makes the twelfth mark on the same ball, and
the spinning begins again and then the thirteenth mark, and
then the ball is broken open and the strip of parchment handed
to the Regent.

TAKTRA RINPOCHE
We should not accept any conditions
from the Chinese.

EXT. GARDENS, NORBULINKA DAY

In a paved area, adjacent to the Yellow Wall which marks the
Dalai Lama's private grounds, the Opera Festival has begun.

This festival involves performances by Tibetan singers,
dancers and actors. It looks to be a joyous occasion;
officials and their wives are dressed in their finest and
sit before beautifully laid picnics. Children run here and
there, amidst the monks and nomads, the swashbuckling Khambas
from eastern Tibet (large people, with heavy braids wrapped
in red cloth on top of their heads). There are westerners,
Nepalese and Sikimese.

Dancers -- dressed in wild, colorful outfits -- spin and
leap in time to the eerie, Tibetan music.

Atop a low building on the Yellow Wall, stands an elaborate
enclosure -- draped in yellow silk.

The Dalai Lama sits inside it.

INT. ENCLOSURE DAY

Tenzin Gyatso is alone in this little room; his arms rest on
a window ledge as he stares down at the festival taking place
below him.

EXT. GARDENS DAY

bit more of the dancers and the people enjoying themselves --
all from the isolated point of view of the Dalai Lama.

We recognize a few characters: Keustang Rinpoche. His
Holiness's Mother with her younger children, the favorite
sweeper, Norbu Thundrup -- dressed in a fine hat.

But a distant figure becomes apparent -- he is a MESSENGER --
he is running, through the crowds, toward the Yellow Wall.

We stay on this desperate little figure as he draws closer.

INT. ENCLOSURE DAY

The boy is watching the Messenger.

EXT. GARDENS DAY

Back to that messenger as he works his way, ever closer to
the building which holds the Dalai Lama aloft, and then we
lose sight of him.

INT. ENCLOSURE DAY

Tenzin Gyatso leans back in his seat. The yellow silk curtain
that his elbows have held open now fall closed and we hear
the heavy footsteps of the runner.

A knock.

TAKTRA RINPOCHE (O.S.)
Enter.

The Regent is next door.

The boy climbs up on a chest and peeks through a tiny window
in the wall which separates this enclosure from the Regent's.

Taktra Rinpoche reads a telegram. His aging face becomes
quite grave.

The Regent leaves his side of the enclosure.

REGENT (O.S.)
Summon the Lord Chamberlain and the
Kashag.

And then, there is a knock on the Dalai Lama's door.

TENZIN GYATSO
Enter.

It is the Regent.

REGENT TAKTRA
Holiness.

TENZIN GYATSO
Yes.

REGENT TAKTRA
The Chinese have invaded.

EXT. GARDENS, NORBULINKA DAY

Back to a new group of performers -- satirists, dressed as
high lamas and monks -- even as the Nechung Oracle --
lampooning the rulers. The crowd roars with laughter.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS, NORBULINKA DUSK

The Lord Chamberlain stands with the teenage Dalai Lama.

The room is a violent red in the sunset.

Tenzin Gyatso has cleared off his table, he is creating a
three-dimensional battlefield as his Lord Chamberlain explains
the situation. Tenzin Gyatso uses papers, books, little
statues to bring a physical life to the words we hear.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
They crossed the river, Holiness.

They have invaded in six locations, Chando Province, Kham,
eastern Tibet.

TENZIN GYATSO
What is the size of our army, now?

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
Eight thousand, five hundred, soldiers
and officers. We have recently
requested mortars, anti-aircraft
guns and ammunition from India. We
have several hundred in the area.

Little statues are placed facing what stands-in for the river.

The Lord Chamberlain helps the boy to create this panorama.

TENZIN GYATSO
Has anyone died?

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
The radio contact said one officer
had died. Then he said, "The Chinese
soldiers -- they are coming." And
then, the radio went dead.

Tenzin Gyatso lifts one statue, a small, golden Buddha, from
the display. He cradles the Buddha in his hands.

TENZIN GYATSO
One man. A man has died. One man is
too many.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS, NORBULINKA DAY

In beautiful sunlight, the painted cabinets of this room
glisten. Rainbows of color play on the glass windows. The
Dalai Lama sits at a low table, a pack of colored pencils,
or pastels, spread out around him. He is teaching his little
brother to draw.

Together, little hand in bigger hand, they draw.

The Dalai Lama's Mother sits in a side chair, watching her
sons.

The little boy screams with laughter as the brothers draw a
yak.

EXT. GARDENS, NORBULINKA NIGHT

A movie is being shown -- outside -- on a makeshift screen.

It is "Henry the Fourth".

This is a treat for the sweepers, and gardeners and servants.
children sit on the grass, mesmerized by this incredible
vision.

Tenzin Gyatso sits beside Heinrich Harrer.

The boy rubs his eyes wearily. He appears distracted.

This line is spoken by an actor:

ACTOR IN MOVIE
"Heavy lies the head, that wears the
crown."

CLOSE on Tenzin Gyatso.

EXT. ROAD BEHIND NORBULINKA DAY

The Dalai Lama sits behind the wheel of a 1927 Austin. He is
a lousy driver -- a boy who never commanded a wheeled vehicle
in all of his young life.

The Attendants sit in the back seat, holding on for dear
life.

We hear Tenzin Gyatso's wonderful, deep laugh.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOM, THE POTALA NIGHT

Tenzin Gyatso is listening to Peking Radio. Norbu Thundrup
is with him.

The boy tinkers with a clock as he listens -- he is swiftly
becoming a master tinkerer.

RADIO
"This week, the People's Liberation
Army crossed the Drichu River east
of Chamdo and began the peaceful
liberation of Tibet. Tibet is in the
hands of imperialist enemies of the
people. The Dalai Lama, a foolish
reminder of an illiterate past, is
the figure head of this autonomous
region of China. Accept our help,
Tibet! The people shall be free!"

TENZIN GYATSO
What do the people say, Norbu?

Norbu is not shy in his report.

NORBU THUNDRUP
Tibetan officials have retreated
from Chamdo. They are scared and
running. The Chinese strategy has
destroyed the heart of our defense
forces. Chamdo falls, several other
villages are lost. You know what
happens. The road to Lhasa will be
wide open.

Tenzin Gyatso listens carefully to the man.

NORBU THUNDRUP
The people want you made Dalai Lama.

TENZIN GYATSO
Then, I am lucky. I am still too
young.

NORBU THUNDRUP
These are dangerous times. They want
the Dalai Lama to lead them.

TENZIN GYATSO
But, I have no experience.

NORBU THUNDRUP
Oh, but you do, Kundun. Who else
would be here?

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS, THE POTALA NIGHT

The Nechung Oracle spins in his trance. Horns blow, cymbals
clash, the Oracle spurts sounds as lamas chant.

Finally, the Oracle approaches the boy, stands beside him,
like a lieutenant, a comrade, and says:

ORACLE
"His time has come."

EXT. TERRACE, THE POTALA DAY

The Dalai Lama is reading -- Tibet's appeal to the United
Nations.

TENZIN GYATSO
"To the members of the United Nations:
The attention of the world is riveted
on Korea where aggression is being
resisted by an international force.
Similar happenings in remote Tibet
are passing without notice. The
problem is not of Tibet's own making
but is largely the outcome of
unthwarted Chinese ambition to bring
weaker nations on her periphery within
her active domination." This is very
good. Quite strong.

The Lord Chamberlain and the four members of the Kashag agree.

The boy continues:

TENZIN GYATSO
"Tibetans have for long lived a
cloistered life in their mountain
fastness, remote and aloof..."

In the background, we see monks on top of a wall, long horns
in front of them. The blowing begins.

In a courtyard below, a debating session is in progress. We
hear the shouts and the claps and watch the beautiful body
movements of the questioners. Laughter fills the air.

Below that, the small capital of Tibet -- the mysterious
city, the forbidden city of Lhasa -- carries on, for now.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS, THE POTALA NIGHT

A monk -- an abbot, in fact -- sits beside Tenzin Gyatso.

It is Takster Rinpoche, the Dalai Lama's oldest brother.

TAKSTER RINPOCHE
I was never alone. Two Chinese were
with me every minute of the day.

Tenzin Gyatso plays with a box of those special sweets which
comes from his mother.

TAKSTER RINPOCHE
Their talk is always of liberation
and helpfulness. They put their words
like honey on a knife, but if you
lick the honey, you will bleed.

Takster Rinpoche begins to say something, but holds back.

TENZIN GYATSO
Tell me.

TAKSTER RINPOCHE
They think they have convinced me.
They think I am on their side. They
have allowed me to leave Kumbum and
come to Lhasa believing that I will
try to turn you to their ways. If I
do not succeed, I am to eliminate
you.

TENZIN GYATSO
You, kill me?

TAKSTER RINPOCHE
Eliminate you.

The tension is great, the idea profound.

TAKSTER RINPOCHE
I can be Governor of Lhasa, they
say.

The brothers try to resist, but cannot. They laugh like crazy.

TAKSTER RINPOCHE
Don't eat all those sweets. You'll
get sick.

TENZIN GYATSO
Do you remember the day I came to
your monastery, when I was a baby?
And you comforted me?

TAKSTER RINPOCHE
I do.

TENZIN GYATSO
I remember, too, actually. I was
frightened then. I am frightened
now.

TAKSTER RINPOCHE
The Chinese have one goal. The
complete dissolution of our nation.
The destruction of our culture. There
is no room for Buddha in their world.
Our only hope is to fight.

TENZIN GYATSO
We cannot.

TAKSTER RINPOCHE
This is not a fight to put bread
just in one's own mouth. This is a
fight for Tibet.

TENZIN GYATSO
Buddha teaches that we must learn
from our enemy. We have compassion
for all people.

TAKSTER RINPOCHE
These are not human beings. They are
worse than ghosts.

Silence.

TAKSTER RINPOCHE
You are in great danger. The Dalai
Lama cannot fall into Chinese hands.
You must flee.

TENZIN GYATSO
How could I ever leave?

TAKSTER RINPOCHE
It may not be your decision to make.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS, THE POTALA DAY

In the adjacent room, the four members of the Kashag and the
Lord Chamberlain are waiting.

The Dalai Lama enters the room.

The boy goes to a small table where a document is unrolled
before him.

Tenzin Gyatso lifts the gold seal of power and affixes it to
the document.

TENZIN GYATSO
I accept it.

He makes his mark on a small piece of parchment that is
attached to the document.

He has accepted the request to be enthroned.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS HOUR BEFORE DAWN

The Master of the Robe is helping Tenzin Gyatso to dress.

He ties a piece of green cloth around his waist and helps
him on with his maroon robes.

Norbu is there, watching.

INT. HALLS OF THE POTALA PRE-DAWN

Tenzin Gyatso walks down this dark hall. The three attendants
are with him.

INT. TEMPLE DAWN

It is very dark green. Butter lamps highlight certain faces --
members of the Kashag, noblemen, the tutors, an Englishman,
Nepalese, Bhutanese, Tibetan Muslims -- but the darkness
conceals the great number of people present.

We hear the unmistakable Tibetan horns and cymbals. We hear
the chanting of monks.

The boy is handed a Golden Wheel, symbolizing the assumption
of temporal power.

At one moment, the Lamas all put on their yellow hats -- a
color that peeks at us out of this dark room. And we hear a
voice:

TENZIN GYATSO (V.O.)
We shall send delegations to America,
India, Nepal and Great Britain, in
hope that these countries will
intervene on our behalf.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS, THE POTALA DAY

The Dalai Lama addresses the Yistang, the Tsitang.

Two new faces are present.

TENZIN GYATSO
We have telegraphed our appeal to
the United Nations and await its
reply. I am sending a delegation to
China to negotiate the Chinese
withdrawal.

He looks around these rooms.

TENZIN GYATSO
It seems that I must depart Lhasa.
The majority wills it. Lukhangwa and
Lobsang Tashi?

The two men rise to their knees -- LUKHANGWA, an incredible
looking layman, with a long white beard, and LOBSANG TASHI,
a monk.

TENZIN GYATSO
I am making you my Prime Ministers.
You will stay here. You must always
keep me informed, no matter how bad
the news. I want plain information.

The men bow to His Holiness.

TENZIN GYATSO
Today, I declare a general amnesty.
I have always wanted to free the
prisoners.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS, THE POTALA DUSK

Tenzin Gyatso is packing. We hear whispers in the adjacent
room as the Masters of the Robe and the Ritual organize
belongings into piles: rolled thangkas, precious manuscripts,
maroon robes, a few english books, the radio.

The boy finds a few golden coins in a drawer and slips them
into his robes.

Tenzin Gyatso adds a package of tools, an atlas, the photo
of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama, the European shoes. Then, he
goes to the terrace.

EXT. TERRACE, THE POTALA DUSK

The boy does not need a footstool anymore.

He glides the telescope across the countryside, catching
sight of the young herders leading their sheep back into
town. He picks up a corner of the market place and the hubbub
of the end of the day. Wall posters show Tibetan soldiers
fleeing the Red Army.

And then, he aims his view-finder at the prison yard.

It is empty. The prisoners are gone.

NORBU THUNDRUP (O.S.)
It's time to take this down.

Tenzin Gyatso lets go of the eyepiece and turns to see Norbu.

TENZIN GYATSO
You will not come?

NORBU THUNDRUP
No, Holiness.

TENZIN GYATSO
Am I running away?

NORBU THUNDRUP
The people will cry when they learn
you are gone. But they would all
want you safe.

Together, the friends break-down the telescope.

NORBU THUNDRUP
Let me take this.

Norbu folds up the tripod.

NORBU THUNDRUP
You must study very hard, do not
neglect the holy things during this
time.

TENZIN GYATSO
I will miss you.

NORBU THUNDRUP
We have had fun, you and I. Fun for
a little boy in an old palace.

TENZIN GYATSO
We have.

NORBU THUNDRUP
You have grown up very good.

TENZIN GYATSO
And you have grown older and your
chin has grown balder.

Norbu laughs. The telescope is wrapped.

NORBU THUNDRUP
Tonight, Kundun, you see the world.
You place your feet on the shepherd
boy's path.

Norbu Thundrup ties a tight knot in a cord.

NORBU THUNDRUP
"The Gods will be avenged."

CLOSE on the gold seal of state as it is packed in a silklined
box.

EXT. POTALA WALLS NIGHT

Tenzin Gyatso -- dressed in the warm, woolen chuba of a layman --
keeps his back against the wall. Norbu is beside him, carrying
a flashlight.

A Bodyguard comes for them, and then, the Dalai Lama is
outside the Potala walls.

EXT. POTALA NIGHT

The small group walks down a rocky path. A grey horse is
waiting.

Tenzin Gyatso is helped onto the horse. Norbu sees that he
is comfortable, and then, the flashlight goes out. Norbu
fiddles with it. Tenzin Gyatso takes the torch and tries get
it working again. The Guard mounts his horse. It is time to
go. The horses snort, their breath consolidating the cold
night air.

Tenzin Gyatso cannot speak. He tries, but he cannot. Norbu
takes the flashlight.

NORBU THUNDRUP
I will send it to you. It will work.

The horse is turned and the Dalai Lama is led away to join
the soldiers at the foot of the path.

Tenzin Gyatso turns once, to see his friend. The night is
dark. Norbu has become invisible.

EXT. COUNTRYSIDE NIGHT

A cold and moonless night, lit only by the millions of stars
that shine over Tibet. The caravan -- made up of noblemen,
monks, family members and over two hundred soldiers (armed
with rifles, machine guns and field artillery) -- journeys
out of Lhasa.

CLOSE on the Dalai Lama: riding the shepherd's path.

EXT. YELLOW WALL, NORBULINKA NIGHT

Tenzin Gyatso rides his grey horse through a gate in the
yellow wall.

EXT. DALAI LAMA'S RESIDENCE NIGHT

The boy climbs the stairs to his summer residence.

INT. ALTAR ROOM NIGHT

The shrine of Mahakala. Butter lamps cast their eerie glow
on the black walls as the boy presents a white, silk scarf,
a kata -- a traditional token of leaving and return.

INT ENTRANCE WAY, NORBULINKA NIGHT

Tenzin Gyatso is about to leave the residence when he stops,
and looks at the small cabinet in the corner. He goes to it.

The door is still locked.

CLOSE on the boy. Suddenly, he knows.

He reaches a hand behind the cabinet. The hand comes back to
him with a key.

Tenzin Gyatso opens the cabinet doors. Several drawers are
revealed.

The boy opens one. Empty. Another. Empty.

A Bodyguard says, from the stairs:

BODYGUARD
We must go, Holiness.

TENZIN GYATSO
A moment.

Another drawer. Empty. And then, success.

In a small drawer, there is something, wrapped in red velvet.

The boy opens it, with shaking hands. Teeth. False teeth.

Tenzin Gyatso releases a sharp laugh, he has been holding
his breath. He wraps up the teeth and puts them back, but
behind the teeth is something more.

A rolled, white silk scarf, a kata.

Tenzin Gyatso takes the scarf. He unrolls it. Something falls
on the floor.

A tiny, lead soldier.

Tenzin Gyatso lifts the soldier. It is a Ghurka. An Indian
soldier.

BODYGUARD
Please, come, Holiness.

TENZIN GYATSO
Yes. I am ready.

The boy places the scarf around his own shoulders.

TENZIN GYATSO
Safe journey. Safe return. I am him.

CLOSE on the golden statue of Mahakala, wearing his white
scarf.

We hear the roar of the Kyichu river.

EXT. KYICHU RIVER NIGHT

Coracles -- skin boats -- are loaded with bundles and people
and pushed off the banks and into the water.

Horses, donkeys and yaks must swim across.

Tenzin Gyatso is helped into a boat. The rowers, wrapped in
heavy wool and sheepskin, their arms bare, push off.

The boy is sprayed with water. He is bumped about. He is
freezing cold. He floats away from Lhasa.

EXT. COUNTRYSIDE DAY

The caravan journeys through a narrow mountain pass.

The flags of Tibet and of the Dalai Lama are carried by
mounted soldiers.

Suddenly, monks come running from the surrounding mountain
trails, shrieking, wailing.

They run to lamas, grabbing at their robes, clutching, crying
out:

MONKS
Do not let him go! We beg of you, do
not take him from us!

One monk clutches for an instant at the layman's wrapping on
Tenzin Gyatso -- but he does not recognize him as the Dalai
Lama.

The boy tenderly embraces this distraught figure, but the
monk drops away from him and clings to the shy, sweet presence
of Ling Rinpoche.

The Dalai Lama is quickly and quietly surrounded by soldiers --
discreetly, so as not to give away his identity.

Ling Rinpoche speaks to a group.

LING RINPOCHE
He goes for a short time, until the
danger can be determined. He will
not leave Tibet. He will return.

The pain on these monks's faces, in their voices, is tragic.

Tenzin Gyatso is overwhelmed.

He sees before him a line of prostrate monks -- but they are
not bowing to him, they are laying down in the pass, trying
to block the way of the caravan.

Ling Rinpoche goes to these men and gently helps them to
their feet.

LING RINPOCHE
He will return. The Precious One
will not abandon you.

INT. TENT NIGHT

The Dalai Lama lies awake in his camp bed. He cannot sleep.

He rises and walks to the tent flap. He opens it.

EXT. TENT NIGHT

A Bodyguard is posted. He turns to the Dalai Lama.

We recognize him. He is the Bodyguard from that first caravan
trip so long ago: a huge monk with a big stick -- the guard
who stood outside the old monks's tent. The man with the
deformed face.

The boy is not frightened this time.

TENZIN GYATSO
All quiet?

BODYGUARD
Yes, Holiness.

TENZIN GYATSO
Where are you from?

BODYGUARD
Kham, Holiness.

TENZIN GYATSO
Your people are very brave. They are
fighting the Chinese. No one can
stop them. Not even me.

BODYGUARD
Khambas are wild men.

There is silence as the two men look out at the cold night.

TENZIN GYATSO
I worry about them.

BODYGUARD
Do not worry, Holiness. They fight
for you. They are under your
protection.

The boy steps back inside.

INT. TENT NIGHT

We hear the approach of a horse, and then the Bodyguard enters
the tent.

BODYGUARD
Holiness, this has come for you.

The Bodyguard hands the boy a parcel. Tenzin Gyatso unwraps
it. His flashlight. It works.

A pause, and then Tenzin Gyatso sits in front of the thangka
of Penden Lhamo.

He reads from the scripture pages laid out on the low table.

He reads by flashlight.

INT. COUNTRYSIDE DAY

The Dalai Lama walks along a beaten, caravan path. He is
still in disguise, and obviously, enjoying it.

An OLD MUSLIM MAN is beside him -- an incredible looking
creature.

MUSLIM MAN
Eighteen children.

TENZIN GYATSO
Eighteen, wonderful.

MUSLIM MAN
And not a monk among them.

The Dalai Lama laughs.

MUSLIM MAN
No, no son of mine will sit and read
books and eat up the poor people's
butter while my people have to butcher
the cows and sheep because these
holy men can't kill an animal. They
can eat it, can't they?

The boy laughs again.

EXT. COUNTRYSIDE - LATER DAY

Still walking, with two companions. A Tibetan peasant WOMAN,
and his own mother.

TENZIN GYATSO
Did you love your husband, before
you married?

TIBETAN WOMAN
I did not know him before I married
him. I loved his brother, but then,
I married his brother, too. He is
dead now.

TENZIN GYATSO
Hmm.

TIBETAN WOMAN
The land has stayed in the family.
We work together. The nobleman is
not too bad.

TENZIN GYATSO
Does he treat you fairly?

A laugh from her.

TIBETAN WOMAN
Not too bad. Rich is rich, poor is
poor. We are different. Are you
married?

Tenzin Gyatso laughs.

The Attendants walk behind the boy, eavesdropping. Tenzin
Gyatso's Mother plays along.

TENZIN GYATSO
No.

TIBETAN WOMAN
Too young?

TENZIN GYATSO
Much too young.

TIBETAN WOMAN
Look for a strong woman, not too
occupied with her beauty. Look for a
woman who keeps her hands busy. Look
for a kind heart.

TENZIN GYATSO
Like my mother.

TIBETAN WOMAN
I see that.

EXT. COUNTRYSIDE, STILL LATER DAY

The Dalai Lama walks beside two boys: his older brother,
Lobsang, and a YOUNG NOBLE BOY.

TENZIN GYATSO
This little brother was terribly
sweet. When he died, my mother was
so sad. A lama said to her, before
the little brother was laid out for
burial, take a bit of butter and rub
a spot on his skin. He will come
back to you, you will see. So, my
mother did this, and a few years
later, a new boy was born.

NOBLE BOY
Does he have the spot?

TENZIN GYATSO
He does, a little spot where the
butter had been.

NOBLE BOY
Is that a true story, or pretend?

TENZIN GYATSO
What do you think?

NOBLE BOY
True.

TENZIN GYATSO
You decide.

They walk.

NOBLE BOY
What does the butter spot feel like?

TENZIN GYATSO
Soft. Nice. I have a good friend
back in Lhasa.

TENZIN GYATSO
He has a very poor beard, with a
little spot on his chin where no
hair grows. It feels like that.

EXT. EST. SHOT, DUNGKHAR MONASTERY - ON A HILL, OVERLOOKING
DROMO VALLEY DAY

It is raining as we see the Dalai Lama on horseback, climbing
the dirt path leading to this beautiful, small monastery.

The caravan has arrived at its destination.

We hear the chanting of monks.

INT. THE DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS, DUNGKAAR MONASTERY DAY

A home has been made: books on the shelf, screwdrivers all
in a row, European shoes under the bed. An old Bush radio
receiver, running off a six-volt battery, sits on the floor.

The telescope stands on the terrace.

Two members of the Kashag can be seen in the adjacent room.

The rooms are stark white.

KASHAG MEMBER
Of the Tibetan delegations sent
abroad, all have been turned away.

TENZIN GYATSO (O.S.)
All?

INT. ADJACENT ROOM DAY

Tenzin Gyatso, dressed informally, looking peaceful, sits
with his advisors on the floor. The Lord Chamberlain is with
them.

KASHAG MEMBER
Britain, Nepal, America, India. All
of those governments have refused to
meet with our representatives.

Silence.

TENZIN GYATSO
And the United Nations? Surely?

KASHAG MEMBER
The United Nations voted not to hear
our appeal.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
One country did sponsor the
resolution. A land called "El
Salvador".

TENZIN GYATSO
Where is that?

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
In the Americas.

Silence.

TENZIN GYATSO
So, we must face China and all her
might alone.

KASHAG MEMBER
Yes. Most of the Chamdo region is
now in Chinese hands. There is a
report from Chamdo which makes quite
clear that, unless some settlement
can soon be reached, Communist troops
will soon be marching on Lhasa.

TENZIN GYATSO
With much bloodshed.

KASHAG MEMBER
I am afraid.

TENZIN GYATSO
I want at all costs to avoid this.
Do we have news from the delegation
in China?

KASHAG MEMBER
Not yet, but the Governor of Chamdo,
Ngabo Jigme, suggests we must
negotiate and offers to go to Peking.

TENZIN GYATSO
He is a capable man.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
Your prime minsters would argue that
such negotiations should take place
in Lhasa.

TENZIN GYATSO
And then they would concede that the
times are desperate and we must go
to Peking. Agreed. Send Ngabo. Is
that all?

KASHAG MEMBER
Yes.

TENZIN GYATSO
Time to study.

The boy gets up. The prostrations begin.

TENZIN GYATSO
Wait.

Tenzin Gyatso waves a hand. The men get up, awkwardly.

TENZIN GYATSO
We are in the last outposts of Tibet.
Let's do away with some of this
formality.

The Dalai Lama leaves the room.

One man still goes down to his knees.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
He is a modern man. Just like he was
the last time.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS DUSK

Ling Rinpoche and Tenzin Gyatso sit together.

TENZIN GYATSO
"I will liberate those not liberated.
I will release those not released. I
will relieve those not relieved. May
I deliver them to the state of
enlightenment."

The lead soldier of the Indian Ghurka sits on the low table,
beside Buddha and the tantric instruments.

EXT. COUNTRYSIDE DAY

Tenzin Gyatso walks alone in the mountains. We see his
Bodyguards in the distance. He comes to a chorten (a stupa,
a small, pagoda-like chapel). He steps inside.

INT. CHORTEN DAY

This is where the Tibetan peasants come to make their
offerings to Buddha. It is a small space, whitewashed, quiet.

A painting of Buddha adorns one wall and flowers, butter
lamps, nuts and dried fruit sit before it.

The boy looks closer.

There is a photograph pinned to the wall.

It is a picture of him, as a young boy. The Incarnate. The
Precious One.

EXT. CHORTEN DAY

The Dalai Lama ties his piece of colored cloth, his mantra,
to this public prayer flag. The beautiful valley lies at his
feet, the bodyguards keep a polite distance.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS NIGHT

The boy is tinkering, as he listens to the radio.

It is Peking Radio he is picking up.

We hear a crackly voice begin a very important announcement.

RADIO VOICE (V.O.)
"Today in Peking, a Seventeen Point
Agreement for the peaceful Liberation
of Tibet has been signed by
Representatives of the Government of
the People's Republic of China and
the Local Government of Tibet."

Tenzin Gyatso drops his work. He turns to face the offending
radio.

RADIO VOICE (V.O.)
"Over the last hundred years or more
aggressive, imperialist forces have
penetrated into Tibet and carried
out all manner of deceptions and
provocations. Under such conditions
the Tibetan nationality was plunged
into the depths of enslavement and
suffering."

The boy moves closer to the radio, he appears physically
ill.

RADIO VOICE (V.O.)
"Today, this enslavement ends. Point
One: The Tibetan people shall unite
and drive out imperialist aggressive
forces from Tibet. The Tibetan people
shall return to the big family of
the Motherland -- the People's
Republic of China. Point Two: The
Local Government of Tibet will
actively assist the People's
Liberation Army to enter Tibet and
consolidate the national defense."

Tenzin Gyatso is stunned. Frozen.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN (O.S.)
It means we have lost our status as
an independent nation.

INT. PARLOR, DUNGKHAR MONASTERY DAY

Tenzin Gyatso, the two members of the Kashag and the Lord
Chamberlain stand around a clicking telegraph machine. A
long message curls along the floor.

KASHAG MEMBER
Ngabo did not have the state seal.
He could not sign.

TENZIN GYATSO
Yes, but they say he did.

A Kashag Member is reading along as the message comes in.

KASHAG MEMBER
Holiness?

TENZIN GYATSO
Yes.

KASHAG MEMBER
General Chiang Chin-wu, the Chinese
representative, is en route to Dromo.
He is coming to meet you.

TENZIN GYATSO
Then, we shall meet.

EXT. TERRACE, MONASTERY DAY

View through the telescope: the Chinese are coming.

A group of officials are headed in the direction of the
monastery. Within the group of Tibetan noblemen -- dressed
in their traditional red and gold silk robes -- are three
men, wearing drab, grey suits.

The Chinese men closer and we see that one of them is smoking
a cigarette.

CLOSE on Tenzin Gyatso's face.

INT. PARLOR, MONASTERY DAY

The Chinese Delegation, led by GENERAL CHIANG CHIN-WU, stands
waiting in a dimly-lit, yellow room.

A table holds tea and refreshments.

The Dalai Lama and his cabinet members are in the room.

Chairs are provided.

GENERAL CHIANG CHIN-WU
Dalai Lama.

TENZIN GYATSO
General Chiang.

GENERAL CHIANG CHIN-WU
We bring greetings from Chairman
Mao.

TENZIN GYATSO
Thank you. Please sit.

The General does. So does the Dalai Lama. The other two
Chinese remain standing.

Tenzin Gyatso is quiet, reserved. Awkward.

GENERAL CHIANG CHIN-WU
Have you heard the terms of the
Seventeen Point Agreement?

TENZIN GYATSO
I have.

GENERAL CHIANG CHIN-WU
I have a copy for you.

A document is produced. We notice that the General is wearing
a gold rolex watch. The Dalai Lama notices, too.

A member of the Kashag takes the document.

GENERAL CHIANG CHIN-WU
We come in genuine friendship.

CLOSE on the Dalai Lama.

He makes no response.

GENERAL CHIANG CHIN-WU
I am certain you wish to return to
Lhasa.

Tenzin Gyatso remains silent.

GENERAL CHIANG CHIN-WU
Do you have plans to return soon,
Dalai Lama?

TENZIN GYATSO
Soon.

GENERAL CHIANG CHIN-WU
Good. Our first request is that you
allow us to build a road. You have
no roads in Tibet. We can discuss
the plans in Lhasa. When you return.

No response.

GENERAL CHIANG-WU
Thank you. We leave now.

The General rises as the boy remains seated. With a moment
of awkward silence, the Chinese depart.

TENZIN GYATSO
Let me see the agreement.

It is handed to him. He opens to the last page and looks at
the impression made by the state seal.

TENZIN GYATSO
Counterfeit.

He closes the document and hands it back to the official.

EXT. TERRACE DAY

The boy watches the delegation leave the hilltop station.

Taktra Rinpoche and the Lord Chamberlain are with him.

TENZIN GYATSO
I thought he would be some kind of
monster, even with horns growing out
of his head. But, he is only a man,
just an ordinary human being, like
myself. Life is always a lesson.

EXT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS DAY

Again, an informal meeting is in session.

KASHAG MEMBER
Your Prime Ministers, support the
proposal that you return to Lhasa.
On the opposite hand, some officials
urge you not to return. They believe
you should leave now, for India.

TENZIN GYATSO
If I were to go into exile, could we
expect any serious assistance, from
India, suppose?

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
It is unlikely. America, perhaps.
There is great anti-communist feeling
in America.

TENZIN GYATSO
At this point, the most likely result
of a foreign pact is war.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
The Chinese would see such a pact as
an open declaration of war.

TENZIN GYATSO
Tibet, at war? No. China is close,
America is far away. After countless
people die, China would still, always,
be close. We will work with what we
have.

KASHAG MEMBER
And as for your own safety, Holiness?

A pause.

TENZIN GYATSO
I am scared.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
Shall we consult the protective
deities, Holiness?

TENZIN GYATSO
My first and foremost duty is to
protect my people. I feel sure of
this. And, things change. Maybe not
right away, maybe not soon. But I
believe this -- things will change.

The boy snaps his fingers.

TENZIN GYATSO
Impermanence. Our own short lifetimes
are not the only valid consideration.
I shall return.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS NIGHT

Tenzin Gyatso is asleep. We have not seen him this still,
this peaceful, in a long time. He sleeps in the "Buddha pose" --
on his right side, his head resting in his right hand. The
wall behind him is white.

We begin to hear the unique Tibetan music.

DREAM SEQUENCE

Tenzin Gyatso rides a grey mule across the empty, mysterious
landscape of Tibet.

The boy is back in his own home in Amdo province.

But, he is not the baby he was when he left there, he is
sixteen. His family is together, but they are all the sizes
and ages they were at the beginning of the story. Tenzin
Gyatso is very happy, sitting on the raised platform in the
kitchen, playing a game with pebbles.

Taktra Rinpoche -- the aged Taktra -- enters and sits down
beside him.

TAKTRA RINPOCHE
I hope you will not feel badly about
all the things of childhood you
missed.

The boy does not speak, just looks, kindly, at the man.

TAKTRA RINPOCHE
You lost so much. I am sorry.

The boy shakes his head "no".

TAKTRA RINPOCHE
Goodbye, Kundun.

Suddenly, another man speaks;

NORBU THUNDRUP (O.S.)
Goodbye, Kundun.

Tenzin Gyatso turns his head to see his best friend.

TENZIN GYATSO
(he only mouths it)
No!

And now, the Dalai Lama's Father is seen in a corner of the
kitchen.

FATHER
Goodbye, Kundun.

TENZIN GYATSO
(silent)
No!

The boy turns to the sweeper once more, holds out his hand,
and mouths:

TENZIN GYATSO
No, Norbu!

Reverse on Norbu, fading away.

DREAM SEQUENCE ENDS

Tenzin Gyatso eyes burst open. He is awake. He is older.

Twenty. But, there is something ageless about him, now.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S ROOM, THE POTALA PRE-DAWN

The boy begins this day.

He is in his old room at the Potala, in Lhasa. The green
mural of the Fifth Dalai Lama is behind him. He has risen.
from the red-curtained bed.

The Masters of the Kitchen and the Robe arrive and begin
their preparations for the day.

A NEW SWEEPER works in the adjacent room.

The sun rises.

EXT. THE POTALA DAY

Like a painting, the beautiful monastery fills the screen
with its white walls and red roof.

Shouting is heard.

GENERAL CHIANG (O.S.)
I hate meeting here, this tribute to
the past! I demand a less formal
meeting place.

CLOSE on the red, bulging face of General Chiang.

INT. GREAT HALL, THE POTALA DAY

Behind the General hang fantastic thangkas of the Fifth Dalai
Lama.

GENERAL CHIANG
I am not a foreigner! I refuse to be
treated like one.

The Dalai Lama is shaken by this violent behavior.

He adjusts his new eye glasses.

TENZIN GYATSO
You see here thangkas of the Fifth
Dalai Lama, the founder of our
government. It is tradition at formal
meetings for these thangkas to be
hung.

GENERAL CHIANG
Superstitions. Tibet is part of a
modern nation.

The General sits.

GENERAL CHIANG
I want the songs stopped.

TENZIN GYATSO
Songs? What songs?

A slight smile.

PRIME MINISTER LUKHANGWA
Street songs about the General.
Reference to his gold watch. He is
right, they are quite insulting.

TENZIN GYATSO
I have no authority to ban singing
in my country.

GENERAL CHIANG
You must also do something about the
public meetings. I see this,
memorandum circulating, with Tibetan
grievances.

LUKHANGWA
You have cracked a man's skull and
that crack has not healed. It is too
soon to expect him to be your friend.

GENERAL CHIANG
We are simply respecting the terms
of the Seventeen Point Agreement.

LUKHANGWA
Are you, General?

GENERAL CHIANG
We want 2,000 more tons of barley
distributed.

LUKHANGWA
Impossible! You will bring famine
down on the people of Tibet with
these insatiable demands! More food,
the best land for your soldiers to
camp.

GENERAL CHIANG
The People's Liberation Army pays
for all food and lodging.

LUKHANGWA
So far, they do. But, the quantity,
it does not exist. You will have to
re-evaluate your needs.

The men glare at one another.

GENERAL CHIANG
How much tea do you drink, Prime
Minister?

LUKHANGWA
It depends on the quality. And, that
it be Indian.

The General leaps to his feet and is about to strike the
Prime Minister.

The Dalai Lama runs between then. He holds the General back.

LUKHANGWA
Why is it necessary for the Chinese
to keep so many soldiers in Lhasa?

GENERAL CHIANG
To protect. To serve you. Chairman
Mao wants you to feel that China
belongs to you now.

LUKHANGWA
Chairman Mao can keep China. Just
give us back Tibet.

The General backs away and brings himself under control.

GENERAL CHIANG
Plans for absorbing the Tibetan army
into the People's Army will soon be
finalized.

LUKHANGWA
I will not approve it.

GENERAL CHIANG
Then, we will begin with replacing
the Tibetan flag with the flag of
the Motherland.

LUKHANGWA
And we will begin with tearing it
down.

Tenzin Gyatso stands between these furious men. He raises a
hand, silently requesting peace.

EXT. TERRACE DAY

We hear the sound of martial drums and trumpets and tubas.

The Dalai Lama is at his telescope.

Three thousand PLA soldiers march along the shepherds's trail.

They march behind huge, red banners of Mao Tse-tung and Chute.

This time, the soldiers do look like monsters. Their faces
are grey -- coated with Tibetan dust. Their peaked hats look
vaguely like horns, their tattered, khaki uniforms like rough
hide.

Monks line the trail, whipping at the soldiers with their
long, maroon robes. Women and children spit at the Chinese,
clap at them, hoping to chase this evil away.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS, THE POTALA DAY

The Prime Ministers, Lukhangwa and Lobsang Tashi, submit
their resignations to His Holiness.

The boy takes the roll of parchment from them.

TENZIN GYATSO
I am so sorry.

LUKHANGWA
It must be done. We can no longer
meet with the Chinese, they refuse
us.

We hear the sounds of those Chinese tubas and trumpets.

We hear trucks.

TENZIN GYATSO
I accept your resignations.

LOBSANG TASHI
Have you chosen your new Prime
Ministers, Holiness?

TENZIN GYATSO
There will be no new Prime Ministers.

LUKHANGWA
You will face great difficulties,
Holiness.

The boy affixes his small piece of parchment to the document
and makes a mark on it.

TENZIN GYATSO
They have taken away our silence.

EXT. KYICHU RIVER DAY

The Dalai Lama, with much pomp and ceremony, walks down a
white carpet and steps into a coracle.

The entourage includes: the Lord Chamberlain, the Kashag,
His Holiness's Mother and youngest Brother, tutors and
attendants.

A hundred monks stand, chanting, on the far bank.

EXT. PLAINS OF TIBET DAY

The Fourteenth Dalai Lama rides in a Chinese jeep. Dust
surrounds him. A yellow silk umbrella shades him.

We see that a road is under construction -- a road into Lhasa.

The first road in Tibet. The Dalai Llama is travelling in
the opposite direction. He is leaving his country, traveling
on rugged, flattened earth.

EXT. BARREN COUNTRYSIDE DAY

The way is tougher here -- the Dalai Lama is on mule back.

EXT. CHINESE BORDER TOWN, SHINGANG DAY

This is a different land. There are rice paddies and water
buffalo. The altitude and barrenness of Tibet have been
replaced by greener pastures, jagged mountaintops and Chinese
natives.

INT. AIRPLANE NIGHT

Tenzin Gyatso gets his ride in an airplane -- an antique. It
is bumpy and noisy. He sits on an un-upholstered, steel frame.

INT. TRAIN DAY

The Dalai Lama travels by train.

INT. TRAIN STATION DAY

The train pulls into the station.

There are hundreds of people awaiting the arrival of the
Dalai Lama -- hundreds of "China pictorial", red-cheeked,
Chinese communists; men, women and children, waving little
red flags.

Tenzin Gyatso steps off the train and there is a roar of
approval. Song breaks out -- the People's Republic National
Anthem.

The young man is overwhelmed.

We begin to sense that something is wrong, something is
artificial. The people's presence is demanded here today.

This is a forced display of regard.

INT. GREAT HALL OF THE PEOPLE DAY

The Dalai Lama, and his retinue sit in this Great Hall,
decorated with a portrait of Chairman Mao.

The Great Helmsman himself is speaking.

Mao Tse Tung's presence is charismatic. His delivery is
powerful -- simple, yet firm. He is spellbinding.

MAO TSE TUNG
The mission of China is to bring
progress to Tibet. Develop its natural
resources. Help its people develop
democracy. We welcome you, Tibet,
back to the Motherland!

INT. DALAI LAMA'S ROOM, CHINESE GUEST HOUSE NIGHT

Tenzin Gyatso snoops around this room. He opens drawers,
cabinets, just as a child would. He finds odd little pieces
of ceramics, pens, paper.

He moves to the bathroom, runs a bath. Hot water.

Electricity. This is the modern world.

INT. MAO'S OFFICE DAY

The Dalai Lama sits beside Chairman Mao as a horde of
photographers flash bulbs in their faces. Mao offers His
Holiness a plate of Chinese delicacies.

We notice that Mao's clothes are shabby and old. (His suit
is always a shade lighter than everyone else's grey-drab).

His cuffs are frayed, his collar is worn. But, his shoes,
are beautifully polished.

He has exquisite, delicate hands and his skin is shinny.

Later, Chairman Mao and the Dalai Lama sit across from one
another.

Tenzin Gyatso takes notes as Mao speaks.

MAO TSE TUNG
I am so glad that Tibet has come
back to the Motherland.

Tenzin Gyatso quietly sips his tea.

MAO TSE TUNG
You must inform me at once if any of
our people abuse the Tibetans trust
and good nature.

TENZIN GYATSO
I have great hopes for the future of
our co-operation.

MAO TSE TUNG
It is too early to implement all the
clauses of the Seventeen Point
Agreement. We will establish a
Preparatory Committee for the
Autonomous Region of Tibet. The pace
of reform must meet with the desires
of the Tibetan people. Changes must
be made slowly, as you, yourself,
judge necessary.

Mao speaks and moves very slowly. He pants and wheezes. He
appears to be sick. Tenzin Gyatso takes notes.

TENZIN GYATSO
I am happy to hear you say this,
Chairman Mao. I have created a reform
committee to investigate grievances
and we have abolished Inherited Tax,
and forgiven all money owed the
Government by people who are unable
to pay.

MAO TSE TUNG
Good. Very good. Tibet is a great
country. A wonderful history. Long
ago, you even conquered part of China.
But now you have fallen behind and
we want to help you. In twenty years
time you could be ahead of us. Then
it will be your turn to help China.

Tenzin Gyatso writes in his notebook.

MAO TSE TUNG
You know, I have great respect for
your Lord Buddha. He was anti-caste.
Anti-corruption. Anti-exploitation.
For some, politics and religion can
mix.

TENZIN GYATSO
For me, I think such a mix is crucial.

MAO TSE TUNG
Have a sweet. Made in my home
province. The kind my mother used to
make.

The Dalai Lama accepts.

EXT. GARDEN, GUEST HOUSE DAY

Tenzin Gyatso does physical exercise with a few Chinese
Bodyguards.

EXT. GARDEN, GUEST HOUSE DAY

Tenzin Gyatso studies with Ling Rinpoche.

The Lord Chamberlain sits with them.

TENZIN GYATSO
"If moral discipline is learned from
the beginning, one possesses the
root for achieving higher rebirth. A
staircase for achieving liberation.
An antidote eliminating misery and
sorrow. Without discipline there is
no method."

Pause.

TENZIN GYATSO
I am thinking of becoming a Communist
Party Member. I like what I see of
Marxism. It is based on equality and
justice for all. I believe Chairman
Mao wishes the best for our people.
Our path must be nonviolence. Co-
operation.

The Lord Chamberlain simply looks at the young man. He has
nothing to say.

INT. MAO'S OFFICE NIGHT

There is a knock and Tenzin Gyatso is led into the room.

Mao is at his desk, working late, smoking heavily.

MAO TSE TUNG
Ah, Dalai Lama, thank you for coming
so late.

TENZIN GYATSO
I leave tomorrow.

MAO TSE TUNG
Yes, I am aware. How has your time
in China been?

Tenzin Gyatso sits. He takes out his book and pen, ready to
take notes.

TENZIN GYATSO
I have been greatly impressed by
your accomplishments. Industrial
progress. Great efficiency. Your
people are capable and courteous.

MAO TSE TUNG
You have a lot to learn about
organization. How to draw out people's
opinions. How to make key decisions.
Train your young Tibetans. When I
make contact with you, I want to
reach you through a Tibetan.

TENZIN GYATSO
Always.

Tenzin Gyatso records Mao's words.

MAO TSE TUNG
Your attitude is good, you know. I
understand you well. But you need to
learn this: religion is poison. It
undermines the race and it retards
the progress of the people. Tibet
has been poisoned by religion.

The boy cannot look up. He is in shock. We see the last words
he writes:

"Religion is poison."

MAO TSE TUNG
Well, let me walk you to your car.

Tenzin Gyatso slowly gets to his feet. We must see on his
face that he realizes it has all been lies. All the kind
words and promises, it must all be lies.

He is unable to raise his face to Mao's. All he sees before
him are those shinny shoes, those exquisitely shaped,
glistening hands.

EXT. MAO'S OFFICE NIGHT

Outside this building, a black car is waiting. It is bitterly
cold.

Mao -- wearing no hat, no coat, and coughing -- opens the
door for the boy.

The Dalai Lama shakes the man's hand.

MAO TSE TUNG
Take care of your health.

Tenzin Gyatso gets into the car and Mao slams the door.

INT. CAR NIGHT

As the car drives away, Tenzin Gyatso turns to see the
Chairman, still standing in the cold, still waving goodbye.

Then, Tenzin Gyatso looks straight ahead and says:

TENZIN GYATSO
He will betray us.

The view pulls back. The Lord Chamberlain sits beside the
young man.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
Did you ever doubt it?

TENZIN GYATSO
I had relinquished doubt.

EXT. TENZIN GYATSO'S HOUSE IN AMDO DAY

The Dalai Lama and members of his retinue stand in front of
his old house in the village of Taktser, Amdo Province.

The young man smiles as he enters the courtyard. He pauses
to look at the prayer flag, flapping in the breeze.

He opens the front door.

INT. HOUSE DAY

A family of relatives inhabits the house. They bow to His
Holiness as the young man makes his way to the kitchen.

INT. KITCHEN DAY

Tenzin Gyatso steps into the kitchen -- he might have to
bend his head under the low ceiling. He laughs his wonderful
laugh.

Immediately, a woman approaches with a cup of tea.

But the hand of a Chinese official reaches out, takes the
tea and returns it to her. It is not permitted.

The woman looks confused. Tenzin Gyatso is humiliated.

EXT. HOUSE DAY

A group has gathered outside the house.

Tenzin Gyatso goes toward them as they prostrate. When they
have finished, he reaches out his hands to take theirs.

He says to one old woman:

TENZIN GYATSO
Are you happy?

The OLD WOMAN says, with tears in her eyes:

OLD WOMAN
I am very happy and prosperous under
the guidance of the Chinese Communist
Party and chairman Mao Tse Tung.

It is a horrifying announcement.

The Dalai Lama touches her head. She weeps and clutches his
hands.

The young man looks up, over her head, to Kyeri, the
protectress mountain of this small village.

We hear loudspeakers, blaring, in the background -- trumpeting
propaganda about Chairman Mao and the People's Liberation
Army.

Tibetan horns blow. It sounds like a warning.

CLOSE on a newspaper. It is a Chinese newspaper and the
picture on the front page shows a row of severed, Tibetan
heads.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS DAY

Tenzin Gyatso puts the paper down. He removes his glasses
and turns to his advisor -- the grand Lord Chamberlain.

TENZIN GYATSO
I ask them to stop, to lay down their
guns.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
The Khamba's gun is his most prized
possession. I admire them so. They
face a modern, well equipped army,
and still, they fight.

The Dalai Lama rubs his face with his hands.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
Land reform is underway in Amdo. The
large estates are being confiscated
and redistributed. Landlords are
being punished.

TENZIN GYATSO
A beggar can be called a landlord if
he disapproves of the Chinese.

The men are silent. We hear the constant sound of trucks and
cars.

The Lord Chamberlain is notably pausing.

TENZIN GYATSO
I have always asked for plain
information. Just the truth.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
The Communists put their guns in the
hands of the Khamba children and
force the child to kill the parent.
They have dropped bombs on the
monastery of Lithang in Kham. It has
been destroyed. Women and children,
trying to escape from the fighting,
have been shot with machine guns,
fired from airplanes.

Again, silence.

TENZIN GYATSO
The pursuit of non-violence. Very
difficult.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
Non-violence means co-operation when
it is possible. Resistance, when it
is not.

EXT. TERRACE DAY

His Holiness walks to the terrace. He aims the telescope.

Below him he sees a new Lhasa -- a Lhasa full of trucks and
Chinese soldiers. A traffic island stands in the center of
an intersection. The town walls are white-washed. The
political posters are gone.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS, THE NORBULINKA DAY

A small group sits waiting on red velvet chairs: the Dalai
Lama, the Lord Chamberlain and the Kashag.

General Chiang enters the room. He finds a chair and pours
himself a cup of tea. We cannot help but notice -- he is
armed.

GENERAL CHIANG
We have decided that no drastic
changes will take place in Tibet for
six years. This should make you happy.

Silence.

GENERAL CHIANG
It seems a revolt has broken out in
the east. We have decided that the
Tibetan army must be used against
the Khamba guerrillas.

The General sips.

The Dalai Lama answers.

TENZIN GYATSO
I will not approve it.

The General looks up, surprised. It took a great deal of
courage for the young man to answer back, so determinedly.

TENZIN GYATSO
You have bombed on peaceful people.

GENERAL CHIANG
We must deal with these reactionaries!

TENZIN GYATSO
No. We are peace loving people. I am
afraid we cannot trust you.

The general sputters:

GENERAL CHIANG
We are here to heal the people of
Tibet. You need reform. You have no
sense of what is good for your people.
We are here to liberate you!

Now, the boy finds his voice.

TENZIN GYATSO
I burn here, but I am not suppose to
let the smoke show. Yes, we need
reform. The monasteries.
Communications. Schools. But we want
change for Tibet, as Tibet needs it,
not for China.

The General starts to speak but Tenzin Gyatso keeps talking.

TENZIN GYATSO
Buddha is our physician, General, he
will heal us. Compassion and
enlightenment will set us free. You
can not liberate me I can only
liberate myself.

The General leaves the room.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
They will take Lhasa next.

TENZIN GYATSO
The people will not allow it.

INT. PRAYER ROOM, NORBULINKA NIGHT

The Nechung Oracle is in full swing. It is an especially
vivid and violent spin he is in. The headdress whips this
way and that, and finally he says:

NECHUNG ORACLE
Where there is no crossing a big
river, no fords, no shallows, where
the only hope is a boat, and there
is no boat... I will put a boat,
Kundun. The wish-Fulfilling Jewel
will shine from the West.

It is a strange and confusing prophecy.

EXT./ INT. NORBULINKA DAY

A few random views of the Norbulinka:

The wandering deer and peacocks. The fish pond and its
inhabitants.

Over these pictures we hear words:

TENZIN GYATSO (O.S.)
"I rejoice in the Awakening of the
Buddhas, and also in the spiritual
levels of their Sons."

The projection room. The full sheep pen. The parents's home.

TENZIN GYATSO (O.S.)
"And with gladness I rejoice in the
ocean of virtue from developing an
awakening mind that wishes all beings
to be happy..."

The Yellow Wall. The Dalai Lama's red room.

TENZIN GYATSO (O.S.)
"As well as in the deeds that bring
them benefit.

And now, we hear the voices of a great many people, reciting:

TENZIN GYATSO AND OTHERS (O.S.)
"With folded hands I beseech the
Buddhas of all directions. To shine
the lamp of Dharma For all bewildered
in the gloom of misery."

EXT. GARDENS, NORBULINKA DAY

In the midst of war, there is beauty.

The Dalai Lama performs the Kalachakra ceremony.

It is a beautiful, ornate, colorful ceremony. A prayer for
world peace.

Tenzin Gyatso sits on a platform of cushions, above the heads
of the abbots and lamas and tutors, above the heads of the
Tibetan noblemen, and nomads and Khambas and peasants from
all corners of the land who attend the ceremony.

TENZIN GYATSO AND OTHERS
"With folded hands I beseech the
Conquerors who wish to pass away, to
please remain for countless aeons
And not to leave the world in
darkness."

The Dalai Lama proceeds with the ceremony. He handles and
blesses sacred objects, he lifts his bell and dorge.

Rice is passed among the people. Rice is thrown.

A Tibetan chant is sung.

Beside His Holiness is a large, yellow silk pagoda.

The view moves inside the pagoda as the chanting continues.

INT. PAGODA DAY

We see a mandala -- a beautiful, intricate, sand-painting.

The home of Kalachakra.

TENZIN GYATSO (O.S.)
"Thus by the virtue collected Through
all that I have done, May the pain
of every living creature be completely
cleared away."

The whole screen becomes this mandala as the chanting an
cymbals and deep resonating sounds of the song continue and
then, a hand comes into the mandala and begins to sweep it
up.

Pull back to see that the hand belongs to Tenzin Gyatso.

Tenzin Gyatso collects the ground particles of Tibetan quartz
and rock. He destroys the painstakingly lovely sand painting.

The chanting becomes louder and louder and it mixes with the
sound of the river.

EXT. KYICHU RIVER DUSK

Tenzin Gyatso pours the sand into the river.

We watch the river take color and the mandala floats away.

This view is overlapped by one of extreme horror.

DREAM SEQUENCE

The lovely Norbulinka garden, the park where opera pageants
and Kalachakra ceremonies take place, is now, a killing field.

Hundreds of dead, slaughtered monks, lie on the blood-drenched
ground, under the peach and pear trees. Chinese soldiers
move amongst the monks, turning over the dead bodies,
searching those silent faces. The Solder we see is carrying
a photo of His Holiness. They are searching for the Dalai
Lama.

It is a nightmare.

We hear crying.

DREAM SEQUENCE ENDS

Tenzin Gyatso wakes up. Shaking, crying, he is alone, in the
dark. He can barely catch his breath.

The screen goes black.

CLOSE ON AN INVITATION:

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama of Tibet, is invited to attend
a Dance Recital at the newly erected, Great Hall of the
Liberation Army. 10 March, 1959.

EXT. THE POTALA DAWN

A last view of the great monastery.

We hear the sound of thousands of Tibetan women shouting;

WOMEN (O.S.)
Chinese, GO! Chinese, GO! Chinese,
GO!

EXT. DALAI LAMA'S RESIDENCE, NORBULINKA DAY

Tenzin Gyatso steps outside. The shouting grows louder:

WOMEN AND MEN (O.S.)
Chinese, GO! Chinese, GO! Chinese,
GO!

The young man looks around at the peaceful premises. People
we know -- members of the Kashag, attendants, tutors, the
Dalai Lama's Mother, sweepers -- appear in the garden, one
by one, all listening to the sounds of a mob gathering outside
the walls of the Norbulinka.

WOMEN AND HEN (O.S.)
Chinese, GO! Chinese, GO! Chinese,
GO!

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS, NORBULINKA DAY

A meeting is in progress.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
The crowd will not disperse until
you give your assurance that you
will not attend the Chinese
festivities. Many who have been
invited to dine with the Chinese do
not return home.

TENZIN GYATSO
I will not go.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
I will alert the Chinese delegation.
You know, I would never have let you
go alone, Kundun.

INT. PARENTS'S HOME, NORBULINKA DAY

The Dalai Lama enters his Mother's home.

It is very quiet here. The young man looks at the family
photographs on the blue walls, the needlework on the table,
the seven copper bowls in front of the statue of Buddha.

MOTHER (O.S.)
Did you come to tell me we are leaving
Lhasa?

The boy fills the seven bowls with water. His Mother lights
the butter lamps.

TENZIN GYATSO
Do you think I must?

MOTHER
You decide.

He says, softly:

TENZIN GYATSO
Tibet has never been part of China.
We are different races. We are
different cultures. We need change,
we know that. But we could do it
alone. We were just about to do it
alone.

The young man fills the last bowl with water.

TENZIN GYATSO
I am afraid I will go. Far, far away.

EXT. GARDENS, NORBULINKA DUSK

The Lord Chamberlain approaches the Dalai Lama as he leaves
his Mother's house.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
We are now accused of aiding the
rebels. The Chinese said we can expect
drastic measures to be taken to crush
this revolt.

TENZIN GYATSO
Arrange for me to speak to the
people's leaders.

The Lord Chamberlain hurries away.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS DUSK

A last meeting in session.

The Kashag is present, as are fifty leaders of the opposition --
rough, tired men.

TENZIN GYATSO
I fear that there will be great
bloodshed if you cannot convince the
people to disperse and go home. I am
safe.

FIRST LEADER
Holiness, the Chinese tried to entice
you to their garrison with out
protection of bodyguard. Even now,
they urge you to come to them for
safety. They are bringing more troops
and guns and artillery into Lhasa.
There are three airplanes waiting
outside Lhasa. What do they wait
for? They are planning to kill the
Dalai Lama. Don't you see?

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS NIGHT

The Dalai Lama consults the Nechung Oracle. Alone.

The Oracle whispers:

NECHUNG ORACLE
Stay.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS NIGHT

It is late at night. The boy is alone. He sits in front of
his altar -- meditating.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS NIGHT

The Nechung Oracle is brought in. The monk quiets himself
and readies himself for the trance.

The Dalai Lama waits. Again, alone.

Slowly, the trance comes on, the heavy headdress is placed
on the monk's head, the attendants leave the room and then,
the Oracle speaks.

NECHUNG ORACLE
Stay. I tell you to stay.

EXT. DALAI LAMA'S RESIDENCE DAY

The Lord Chamberlain hurries up the stairs.

Tenzin Gyatso steps forward, out of the shadows.

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
The Chinese are planning to attack
the crowd and shell the Norbulinka.
You are asked to indicate on a map
where you will be so that the
artillery men will not mistakenly
aim at you.

The Dalai Lama walks down the outdoor stairs.

TENZIN GYATSO
Tell them I will be here. With my
people. Right here.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS DAY

The young man is studying with Ling Rinpoche. Books of
scripture are stacked in front of him.

Suddenly, there is a tremendous, loud explosion, and then,
another.

Tenzin Gyatso gets up and runs to the window he looked out
of the day of the earthquake.

EXT. GARDENS, NORBULINKA DAY

There is shouting and chaos. The Chinese have begun shelling
the Norbulinka. The north wall and the grounds directly in
front of it are on fire.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S ROOM DAY

This time the Oracle is in the room first. He is surrounded
by his attendants and the members of the Kashag, the Lord
Chamberlain, Ling Rinpoche and various tutors and lamas.

The tension is thick. Finally, the Dalai Lama enters.

Tenzin Gyatso sits. He waits. The trance begins, the headdress
is set upon the medium's head and the Oracle begins to dance,
and then, he begins to shout:

ORACLE
Go! Go! Tonight!

The Oracle staggers forward, snatches up some paper and a
pen and begins to draw a map, a route, out of Lhasa. He keeps
repeating:

ORACLE
Go! Tonight! Go!

CLOSE on the map -- drawn with a shaking, sweating hand.

We see mountains, and a pass, and the names of towns along
the way.

Tenzin Gyatso rises and goes to the Oracle. He looks down at
the map. The Oracle hands the Dalai Lama the map and faints
as his frightened attendants rush to loosen the strap of the
headdress before the poor man chokes.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS DUSK

The boy sits at the table, writing. We can hear the crowd,
shouting, outside the Norbulinka walls. We see just a few
words of the letter:

Please do not resist. Take refuge on the far side of the
river.

Attendants pack, quietly and quickly.

INT. ALTAR ROOM NIGHT

The chapel of Mahakala.

We are reminded of secret, sacred moments, from long ago.

Tenzin Gyatso opens the heavy, creaking door. The Dalai Lama
is in disguise. He is wearing the clothes of a Khamba
guerrilla -- dark, woolen chuba and tall black boots.

Monks sit on the floor, chanting. One monk stands by a large
urn, ladling out butter for the lamps.

Tenzin Gyatso goes to the front of the room.

A monk begins to play the cymbals. Another puts the Tibetan
horn to his lips and blows a long, mournful note.

The Dalai Lama lays a white silk scarf -- a kata -- over the
shoulders of this imposing statue.

Then, he sits for a moment.

In the weak light, in the black room, Tenzin Gyatso is lost
among the other praying monks.

EXT. HALLWAY OF RESIDENCE NIGHT

The Dalai Lama walks down the hall. He says to a sweeper:

TENZIN GYATSO
Dim the lights.

And then he bends down, to pat a dog.

INT. DALAI LAMA'S PRIVATE ROOMS NIGHT

Tenzin Gyatso rolls the thangka of Penden Lhamo and slides
it into its ancient container.

The young man places the scroll over one shoulder.

INT. ENTRANCE OF RESIDENCE, NORBULINKA NIGHT

CLOSE on the little cabinet in the corner of the entrance
hall.

Tenzin Gyatso's hands open the doors.

The young man pulls open the drawer which contains the false
teeth.

Tenzin Gyatso pulls a rolled kata from his coat. He tucks
the lead soldier of an Indian Ghurka into the center of the
scarf. He places the bundle in the drawer.

Then, he adds something. A sweet. The kind his Mother makes.

He closes the drawer, and locks it.

He hides the key, again, behind the small, unobtrusive
cabinet.

EXT. RESIDENCE, STAIRS NIGHT

With a soldier on either side of him, the Dalai Lama descends
the staircase.

The Soldiers start to lead him away, but he pauses.

TENZIN GYATSO
Wait.

The young man leaves them.

EXT. RESIDENCE NIGHT

He walks to the far side of this white building.

TENZIN GYATSO
I see a safe journey.

The boy returns to the front steps.

TENZIN GYATSO
I see a safe return.

The soldiers wait.

TENZIN GYATSO
Now. I am ready.

Tenzin Gyatso places the scroll over one shoulder. A soldier
lays a rifle over the other one.

EXT. GARDENS, NORBULINKA NIGHT

The three men walk quietly through the empty gardens. We
hear the sounds of the crowd grow louder.

EXT. WALL NIGHT

The soldiers pause, look to His Holiness. Tenzin Gyatso
removes his glasses, puts them in his bag, then nods -- and
the soldiers open the gate.

SOLDIER
Move aside, tour of inspection, move
aside.

Of course, we see only a fraction of the crowd -- angry men
and women.

A man steps beside His Holiness.

Tenzin Gyatso looks up -- face to face.

It is the Khamba bodyguard, the monk who guarded him so many
times. The man with the horrible face.

KHAMBA BODYGUARD
Move aside, let us through. Move
aside!

The Dalai Lama is between the soldiers, shouldering his own
gun. The Bodyguard falls in behind.

The little group makes its way through the crowd.

EXT. TRIBUTARY OF THE KYICHU RIVER NIGHT

In the same place where the little Tenzin Gyatso tentatively
tested one rock, the escape party crosses on the slippery,
stepping stones.

EXT. COUNTRYSIDE NIGHT

The small party makes its way across a bit of countryside.

People are camped here -- Khambas, farmers, nomads. The Dalai
Lama crosses to safety -- unnoticed.

EXT. KYICHU RIVER NIGHT

Coracles await.

The Dalai Lama climbs in, the Lord Chamberlain sits beside
him. The soldiers push off. The Khamba Bodyguard stands on
the bank, alone.

Every splash of the oars sounds like it could wake the dead.

Tenzin Gyatso looks back. He puts on his glasses.

He sees camp fires and the glow of torches. He hears echoed
voices.

He looks up. He sees the stars and the moon and that
incomparable Tibetan sky.

He looks forward.

He sees mountains.

TENZIN GYATSO
I have always loved mountains.

He is handed a steaming cup of tea.

And then, a cloud passes over the moon.

EXT. COUNTRYSIDE NIGHT

On horse back, the party makes its way up a mountain pass.

There are more members now -- Tenzin Gyatso has joined those
who left ahead of him -- members of the Kashag, tutors, his
Mother, his Brother.

It is tough going. The ground seems like quick sand with
every step a struggle. When the horses have disappeared from
sight, a sand storm arises, wiping away their tracks.

EXT. COUNTRYSIDE NIGHT

The party passes above an encampment of Chinese soldiers.

They are not seen.

EXT. COUNTRYSIDE DAY

The party travels through the emptiness.

EXT. MOUNTAIN PASS DUSK

His Holiness walks beside his horse.

He joins other members of the group standing on a ridge.

Tenzin Gyatso picks up a rock and throws it over the side.

TENZIN GYATSO
"Right will be victorious."

And now, the others do the same. The Lord Chamberlain says:

LORD CHAMBERLAIN
"The Gods will be avenged!"

EXT. OUTSKIRTS OF TIBET DAY

The Dalai Lama sits before a low table set up on this desolate
border.

A document is before him.

TENZIN GYATSO
I repudiate the Seventeen Point
Agreement.

With a slap of the State Seal of Tibet, this is done.

The Lord Chamberlain removes this document and replaces it
with another.

TENZIN GYATSO
I constitute the Government of Tibet,
the only legal authority in the land.

The seal comes down hard once more. It is done.

EXT. BORDER DAY

A sick and tired Tenzin Gyatso makes the last leg of his
trip on the back of a black yak.

Before him, through the light rain, we see a small bamboo
arch erected in the middle of nowhere.

Six Indian GHURKAS, wearing floppy, jungle hats and heavy,
British boots, stand at attention.

The Dalai Lama, on his black yak, passes under this bamboo
gateway as the Indian Soldiers raise their guns in salute.

An Indian soldier goes to the yak and helps the sick man
from his mount.

Tenzin Gyatso stands, barely able to hold himself on his
feet. His hand rests on the yak's back.

The Indian soldier steps closer and, knowing he is breaking
protocol, he whispers:

SOLDIER
With all respect, may I ask? Who are
you?

The young man smiles at the Soldier -- a man who looks like
the lead soldier come alive.

TENZIN GYATSO
What you see before you is a man. A
simple monk.

SOLDIER
Are you the Lord Buddha?

Pause.

TENZIN GYATSO
I think I am a reflection, like the
moon, on water. When you see me, and
I try to be a good man, see yourself.

INT. A ROOM IN INDIA, FOOT OF THE HIMALAYAS DAY

Tenzin Gyatso unpacks. He is dressed in maroon robes, his
arms bare.

He places some books on a table next to his tinkering
equipment. He lifts a heavy parcel.

EXT. TERRACE DAY

CLOSE on the young man's beautiful hands as he sets up his
telescope.

The tripod is erect. The body is attached. The eyepiece is
adjusted.

And then, this boy, this man, this simple monk, aims, to
takes a look, at a bigger world.

On a black screen, a card reads:

The Dalai Lama has not yet returned to Tibet.

He hopes one day to make the journey.

THE END

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