Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Karmapa - Two Ways of Divinity
Apart from the exiled Dalai Lama, who is living in India, Tibetan Buddhism has various other spiritual leaders. One of them is the leader of the Karmapa sect, whose birth was already
predicted by the first Buddha, Siddharta Gautama. When the sixteenth reincarnation of the Karmapa leader died in the United States in 1981, monks start a search for the next reincarnation. Ten years later, representatives of the Chinese government in Tibet say they have found him, but an alternative candidate is pushed forward in India. This is the onset of a fierce political sparring. All in all, the production of this double portrait of both hallowed youngsters took six years. Prior to the shooting period from 1994 to 1997, director Arto Halonen (1964) had to wait for three years for permission by the Chinese authorities to film in Tibet, but he concealed the fact that the Dalai Lama and the second intended Karmapa leader, also living in exile in India, would be in his film, too.
A unique, award-winning documentary on the Karmapa and how China used him as a
springboard for its politics that has led to the violation of religious rights. On another level, the film tells the story of the existence of two rival candidates for the title of Karmapa and how the situation of two Karmapas provoked an internal crisis within the Buddhist denomination, as proponents split into different camps. The documentary was made between 1994 -1998 in Tibet, China and India and features the Dalai Lama as well as representatives of the Chinese Government.