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Viewers React to ‘My Reincarnation’

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Last week, My Reincarnation premiered on PBS, kicking off POV’s 25th season. Viewers have been posting their reactions to the film, which spans 20 years and chronicles the relationship between a Tibetan Buddhist master and his Western-born son.

Read some of their comments, compiled from Facebook, Twitter, and the My Reincarnation film companion site:

“My wife is Thai Buddhist and I have studied Buddhism after growing up and becoming disillusioned with Catholicism. My Reincarnation is the most important program I have seen in a very long time. So much was presented and so much left me time to consider ideas with a new perspective.”
Francis B Smith III (via Facebook)

“Extraordinary. Excellent job. A true labor of love to document this.”
Carolyn Gayle (via Facebook)

“moved to tears when he went to tibet. talk about heritage!”
Jessolyn Ettinger (via Facebook)

“I really enjoyed the film. It made me feel closer to Buddha and helped my own enlightenment. Thanks so much.”
Ellen Flateau (via Facebook)

“Like all #PBS programs, I’ll be thinking about #MyReincarnation for a long time. Thanks, @PBS & @povdocs! #pondering”
@playsthetart (via Twitter)

“Loved the movie-thank you so so much for making this film Jennifer! Just found NN so amazing, how totally spacious his mind is and how skillfully he let his son find his own path. Also just beautifully filmed. Big kudos to you on this project! May everyone benefit!”
Karen Smith (via Facebook)

“P.O.V. – reminding us what Television – and public communications in general – COULD be!”
Alan Kobrin (via Facebook)

“Interesting life always with a house full of people. Good that the son got to walk his own walk.”
Phyllis Cameron (via Facebook)

“I loved this quiet and deep journey! Thank you!”
Eliza Strode (via Facebook)

“Extraordinary film.”
Carolyn Gayle (via Facebook)

Have you watched My Reincarnation yet? The film is streaming free online until September 20. Join the conversation on, on Twitter @povdocs, or on Facebook and tell us what you think.

POV Staff
POV Staff
POV (a cinema term for "point of view") is television's longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. POV premieres 14-16 of the best, boldest and most innovative programs every year on PBS. Since 1988, POV has presented over 300 films to public television audiences across the country. POV films are known for their intimacy, their unforgettable storytelling and their timeliness, putting a human face on contemporary social issues.
  • Bayou

    I have to ask hard, surely unpopular, questions because the film raises them, at least for me:  Why did Yeshi change?  Was it the ‘visions”?  Let’s say he had compelling ones, whether these are authentic life changing or simply nyams, (relatively short-lived blissed out moments) even a “Tulku” would be motivated to practice=== daily.  Even a garden variety student of Dharma/Truth wants to incorporate wisdom/compassion into his/her life.  I don’t see evidence of this in Yeshi as depicted by the film.   Is it not there because Yeshi (at some level) simply made a  decision to take up the mantle of “Tulku”?  And if this is the case, did he decide this because he was tired of working like an ordinary person (and being a Tulku brings perks) or did he do it to be closer to his father? Or what?  At best the film is beautifully ironic:  it raises important questions which cut through its conclusions.  And one of those conclusions is that Yeshi accepts his destiny as the reincarnation of a teacher from the past & that’s all one needs to know.   I would have more respect for the Yeshi depicted in the film (which is the only one I ‘know’ at this point)  if he’d continued to make his way as a computer person/father/husband and asked questions about life, his identity.  Yes he  could teach–assuming that he practices and the Buddha (or Christ Allah) within him,within all of us, is beginning to be unveiled.. But the film suggests that suddenly Yeshi is converted & we just need to accept it.  Sorry, but that feels fakey to me.  BTW Has anyone heard about monasteries in Tibet where one can present about $15,000 & then you can be recognized as a tulku?.   A film I’m interested in seeing is Tulku by Gesar Mukpo.  My hope is that the trailer for it actually is evidence of how the film explores how young/youngish tulkus are asking questions about the Tulku tradition..