Brilliant Moon

reviewed by Kristine Morris

Glimpses of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

By Neten Chokling, with narration by Richard Gere and Lou Reed

Brilliant MoonBeautifully filmed in Tibet, India, the United States, Bhutan, and Nepal, this documentary is the story of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, a poet, writer, and meditation master who was one of twentieth-century Tibet’s most revered teachers. Counted among his students are the Dalai Lama, the king of Bhutan, and Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Archival footage is included but where unavailable, surprisingly skillful animation fills in the gaps and fits seamlessly into the moving story of the master’s life, death, and reincarnation, according to Tibetan tradition.

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche was born in 1910 in eastern Tibet to a family descended from royal lineage and was recognized as an incarnation by the illustrious teacher Mipham Rinpoche. As a small child, although against his father’s wishes, he evidenced desire to devote himself to religious life. Finally allowed to enter a monastery at the age of 11, he studied with eminent teachers of the Nyingma tradition.

Fleeing Tibet in the late 1950s, Khyentse Rinpoche and his family lived in Bhutan, where Rinpoche taught, performed ceremonies, wrote, and saw to the preservation and construction of stupas and statues. He returned to Tibet several times and was able to get the Chinese government to allow the restoration of an eighth-century Buddhist monastery. Even in his later years, when it was obvious that the rigors of travel had depleted him greatly, Rinpoche continued to teach and bless his people, who returned his love with great devotion. Over the course of his life, he wrote more than 25 volumes on Buddhist philosophy and practice, published and saved countless texts, and worked to disseminate Buddhist thought, tradition, and culture. When he died in Bhutan at the age of 81, his cremation was attended by more than 50,000 people, many of them his students and disciples from around the world.

While Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche’s intellectual achievements alone would have earned him a place of honor among his people, the greatest feeling this film engenders is love — the solid and enduring love of a father for his children, who return it to him in kind.


This entry is tagged with:
Film ReviewsDocumentariesPhilosophyBuddhism

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