The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is pleased to announce the World
Premiere of Tulku, an exceptional personal documentary by
filmmaker Gesar Mukpo, who was recognized by Tibetan Buddhists as
a tulku—a reincarnated Buddhist master.
ways, Gesar Mukpo’s life in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is an ordinary one. But, when
he was only 3, he became one of the first people born in the West to be
recognized as a tulku – a reincarnated Buddhist master.
film, Tulku, Mukpo tries to figure out exactly what this
means. While travelling throughout Canada, the United States, India and Nepal,
interviewing some of the greatest living Tibetan Buddhist teachers, like
renowned Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, Mukpo encounters four
other tulkus who are struggling with this profound dilemma, trying to
reconcile modern and ancient, East and West.
intensely personal documentary, as he gathers impressions from others, Mukpo
reveals his own poignant story of living in the West with this unique label and
legacy, endlessly scrutinized as someone who is supposed to be special and
produced as part of the Reel Diversity Competition for emerging
filmmakers of colour. Reel Diversity is a NFB initiative in partnership
with CBC Newsworld. Tulku, will be presented at the Pacific
Cinematheque, on Monday, May 25, at 3 p.m.
Here is a link with the interview, info about the film, the trailer,
NFB contact info, etc.: http://www.nfb.ca/film/tulku_trailer/
is a filmmaker who lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The son of the great
Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and his British
wife, Mukpo was recognized as the reincarnation of his father’s beloved
teacher at the age of three. He developed his film and video craft
through commercial work and study with Buddhist teacher and filmmaker Khyentse Norbu. Buddhist themes provide the motivations for his most
recent work, including the music video What About Me?
In many ways, Gesar Mukpo leads an ordinary life. He’s building a
career as a filmmaker, he’s had trouble in his marriage, and he
struggles to pay his bills. But there is more to Gesar’s story. Tibetan
Buddhists recognize him as a tulku, a reincarnated Buddhist master.
Gesar was three when he became one of the first people born in the West
recognized as a tulku. His entire life, he’s been trying to figure out
what that really means. Tibetan teachers, including Gesar’s father,
Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, began making their way to the West in the
1960s. By the mid-1970s, they began to recognize Western children as
tulkus. Suddenly, a system that ensured stable spiritual power and
authority in Tibetan society for 800 years was transplanted into a
completely different culture. And individual tulkus, like Gesar, were
caught in the middle.
In this intensely personal documentary, Gesar sets out to meet other
Western tulkus to find out how they reconcile modern and ancient, East
and West. Journeying through Canada, the United States, India and
Nepal, he encounters four other tulkus who struggle with this profound
dilemma. Ashoka channels his efforts into working for human rights in
New York. Dylan, whose parents met at a Jimi Hendrix concert, spends
half the year in solitary retreat. Wyatt grew up in California and
recently moved to India to pursue Tibetan Buddhist studies at a
monastery. Meanwhile Reuben, who was born in Amsterdam and spent three
years in an Indian monastery, has become cynical about the tulku system
and Tibetan Buddhism in general.
Tulku also includes interviews with some of the greatest
living Tibetan Buddhist teachers. One of them, the renowned Dzongsar
Khyentse Rinpoche, asks if it might be time to abandon the practice of
recognizing tulkus. As he gathers impressions from others, Gesar
reveals his own poignant story of living in the West with this unique
label and legacy, endlessly scrutinized as a supposed special and
monumental figure. What does it mean to carry on a role designed for an
old world when you’re living in a completely new one? How will Gesar
and other Western tulkus fulfill their destiny?