April 26, 2010

Film Review: Recalling a Buddha: Memories of the Sixteenth Karmapa. ~ Linda V. Lewis

Recalling a Buddha, a DVD by Gregg Eller, is not only a film about the 16th Karmapa, but a fluid composite of photos, drawings, TV recordings, video, radio, and newspaper clips about the Tibetan diaspora and the resilience of the Kagyu lineage in particular.  It includes interviews with teachers from both the four schools of Tibetan buddhadharma and several teachers from the Zen tradition—in particular, interviews with Chogyam Trunpa Rinpoche, Ponlop Rinpoche, Khandro Rinpoche. Thrangu Rinpoche, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, Tenga Rinpoche and Maezumi Roshi.

The film will hold the most interest for those already practicing the buddhadharma but may be informative to those interested in modern Asian history and the destructive impact of Chinese Communism on the culture and environment of the Tibetan region.  The film does point to pith dharmic instructions and to the power of meditation to reveal the true nature of mind and phenomena.  It does this largely through non-verbal shots of the Karmapa as an “Awake Being” or Buddha, but relies on the viewer’s faith in the words of these many rinpoches, rather than in any direct teachings of the Karmapa himself.

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