Tulku: Divine birth, ordinary life

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Tulku: Divine birth, ordinary life

Postby kirtu » Sun Jun 20, 2010 12:51 am

Tulku: Divine birth, ordinary life by Gesar Mukpo.

Just came from a screening at the Washington DC BuddhaFest. Not a bad film and not a bad presentation of the tulku phenomena as it has developed in Tibetan Buddhism. However it is not as good as "The Reincarnation of Kensur Rinpoche", "Unmistaken Child" or "Born to Serve". Tulku suffers from an obsession with trying to piece out the role of Western tulkus in a Western context and ends up laying bare the manifest insecurities of most of the still mostly young male Western tulkus interviewed. It appears that western culture is destined to swamp these people's lives with a clash between how they perceive themselves and their religious role as a recognized bodhisattva. Perhaps they are taking the term tulku too literally in the nirmanakaya meaning (several years ago a noted Sakya teacher did tell me directly that tulkus really were nirmanakayas and he meant it literally although I did not pursue what I would expect is a somewhat more nuanced understanding as a practical matter). After all, the western tulkus interviewed readily admit that the fullness of wisdom has not blossomed in their minds yet. The overall impression is the reinforcement of Alan Wallace's essay of a few years ago "Tibetan Buddhism in the West: Is it working here?" with an angsty, still adolescent riff (after all, males in the West have a serious Peter Pan syndrome). Maybe people don't think Buddhism is working because they are fairly together spiritual people to begin with who possibly think that an addiction to the F word entails a degree of failure and have not seen the dramatic transformation that Dharma practice is capable of or do not notice it so much. They have been blessed by some of the greatest yogis of the 20th century. One hopes that some involved will just drop their insecurity and dive deeply into practice. The movie is nonetheless a welcome addition to the growing cannon of Buddhist movies presenting Tibetan Buddhism to the world.

I should mention significant appreances by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche and HH Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje which tends to balance things out more evenly.

Kirt Undercoffer
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
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Re: Tulku: Divine birth, ordinary life

Postby justsit » Sun Jun 20, 2010 1:58 am

Looking forward to seeing the whole movie, saw the trailer and especially noted DKR's comment to Gesar, "We're still waiting for him to do what he's supposed to do." Gesar dropped in occasionally on e-sangha, perhaps he will visit us here.

Have you seen "Samsara" by Pan Nalin? Very good also, and available in 13 parts on You Tube.
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Re: Tulku: Divine birth, ordinary life

Postby kirtu » Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:58 pm

Here is the Shambhalla Sun review of Tulku:

TULKU: Divine Birth, Ordinary Life is the new documentary by Gesar Mukpo (son of the late Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche) that is his intensely personal exploration of life as a tulku, or reincarnated Buddhist master. He sets out to discover what it means to ‘wear’ this identity—especially as someone brought up in the West, with a great deal of choice but without the traditional supports or reference points of tulkus in Tibet. He interviews 4 other young tulkus (too bad, all men!) as well as his own teacher, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche—all of whom question the place of tulku-hood in modern America.

It’s a thoughtful frolic around the globe, meeting up with these ’special’ beings. I like that writer and director Gesar shows us who he is; he doesn’t hide behind camera, guru, or filmmaker agenda but lets us see how unclear and confusing life has been. He and the 4 have never quite resolved who they are, what they’re doing on Earth, or what they should commit to.

But really, who has? Who knows why we’re here, in this body/shape, and what we’re moving toward? As Gesar says in the film, life offers no certainty—only the opportunity for self discovery. This simple truth leaves us plenty to contemplate.
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche
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Re: Tulku: Divine birth, ordinary life

Postby kirtu » Mon Jun 21, 2010 7:26 pm

I was surprised to find what is essentially a piece of crap in the Shambhalla Sun.

kirtu wrote:Here is the Shambhalla Sun review of Tulku:

TULKU: Divine Birth, Ordinary Life is the new documentary by Gesar Mukpo (son of the late Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche) that is his intensely personal exploration of life as a tulku, or reincarnated Buddhist master.


First - Gesar is the reincarnation of a Buddhist master but he is himself not a Buddhist master (there are only two tulkus in the film who are Buddhist masters and it's none of the western boys). This needs to be recognized clearly otherwise we are deceived by the language.

He and the 4 have never quite resolved who they are, what they’re doing on Earth, or what they should commit to.

But really, who has? Who knows why we’re here, in this body/shape, and what we’re moving toward?


Total nonsense. A tulku should at the minimum work as hard as possible to be a good person. Then if possible, they should minimize harm toward other beings and help other beings as much as possible. Then if possible they should at least internally be the best bodhisattvas possible and they as they acquire the means they should expand this bodhisattva activity as much as possible and eliminate as much suffering as possible. If possible they should become good examples. Then they should become very good practitioners and possibly become very good, perhaps even great teachers and yogis. They should support Buddhist masters and if possible themselves become Buddhist masters in this lifetime.

A tulku is not existential; it is a function, a realization of bodhisattva activity. It is not robes, a throne, a status or anything outward. It is the activity of removing suffering in samsara and sustaining the exceptional example of Shakyamuni or Padmasambhava as much as possible.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche
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Re: Tulku: Divine birth, ordinary life

Postby kirtu » Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:27 pm

Some addition footage of Gesar's "Tulku":

1:59 minutes here with HH DIlgo Khyentse conducting Gesar's enthronement and additional brief statements by other tulkus and HH Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje

"Screencasts" from Tulku of Dzongsar Khyentse fro YouTube:
Part 1-3
Part 4

Kirt
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"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche
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