November 10, 2011
Our Winter 2011 issue is here and with it came Mary Talbot's review of My Reincarnation, a film recently released in New York and Los Angeles. The film, by documentarian Jennifer Fox, features over twenty years of footage of Tibetan-born Dzogchen master Chögyal Namkhai Norbu and his Italian-born son Yeshi.
As Talbot writes,
The driving story in My Reincarnation is how Yeshi resists, rejects, and ultimately embraces this inheritance in a surprising turn of events. But woven in and around the literal rebirths are the various metaphorical incarnations of these two people—as Tibetan refugee and bicultural first-generation Italian; as father and son; as teacher and student; as young man maturing and mature man growing old. In contrast to his son’s perception, Namkhai Norbu is renowned among students for his informal style and how accessible he makes the teachings of Dzogchen, or “great perfection,” an esoteric approach to perceiving the nature of mind. In a stand against convention, he does not send his tulku son to a monastery in India to train as a lama. “I didn’t want to condition Yeshi,” he says. “If he is the real incarnation of my uncle Khyentse, we should see how he manifests.”
My Reincarnation has already been noticed by numerous international film festivals, including the Hamptons International Film Festival, where one of the film's stars, Yeshi, answered questions about the movie. Here's the interview video: