Videos in Brief

Spring 2000

KARMAPA
Two Ways of Divinity
Directed by Arto Halonen
Art Films/NTSC
(+358 (0) 9 735 413)
61 minutes; VHS

The Karmapa is the oldest tulku lineage in Tibetan Buddhism. Both the Buddha and Padmasambhava, it is said, prophesied the appearance of the Karmapa. This tape presents the history of the Karmapas, who are the spiritual heads of the Kagyu lineage, and details the controversy over the 17th Karmapa. After the death of the 16th Karmapa in 1981, two reincarnations were claimed, and there has been no resolution to date. Rich with historical detail, this is a cautionary tale of the use and misuse of the tulku system and its possible political ramifications for Tibet.

THE SPIRIT OF TIBET
Journey to Enlightenment
The Life and World of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
Directed by Matthieu Ricard
Narrated by Richard Gere
National Film Board of Canada
(800-542-2164)
46 minutes; VHS

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche was a great guru, the most sought-after in all of Bhutan, where he made his home after the Tibetan diaspora. Like the 16th Karmapa (see above), he was venerated by students in his own country and in the West. He turned to the dharma early in his life and sat for fifteen years in solitary retreat, often snowbound in his small cave. He wanted to stay in retreat forever, but he was asked to go out and teach what he had learned, and he did it for the rest of his life. This tape, with musical arrangements by Philip Glass, is a teaching in itself.

TASHI JONG
A Traditional Tibetan Community in Exile
Produced by Barbara Green
Tibetan Video Project (510-540-8401)
45 minutes; VHS

This is a very personal history of Tashi Jong (“Auspicious Valley”), a monastery built in the foothills of the Himalayas in India after Khamtrul Rinpoche fled the Chinese invasion of Tibet. Almost all of the participants in the film are residents of the monastery. Narrator Dechen Bartso says, “To us, the monastery is like the sun. It is the light and warmth of our heart.” Lovingly filmed, this video contains wonderful scenes of ordinary life in a monastery in exile that serves as both new hime and link to life in the old country.

LANDMINES OF THE HEART
Produced by Yvonne Simon-Ginsberg
Narrated by Peter Coyote
Zebra Productions (415-381-2606)
62 minutes; VHS

Maha Ghosananda, Patriarch of Cambodian Buddhism, four-time nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, and another teacher beloved to Western students, is the guiding spirit of this film. It is the story of Dhamma Yietra, “The Walk of Truth,” a peace march from Phnom Penh into the countryside along the Mekong River. Cambodia, ravaged by the Vietnam War and then the cultural purges of the Khmer Rouge, is a nation sorely in need of peacemaking and forgiveness. The participants in the Dhamma Yietra distribute food and clothes along the way and work to overcome years of hatred and genocide with love and charity.

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