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My Reincarnation

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Discover More About Spirituality and Tibetan Culture

In My Reincarnation, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu rises as a Buddhist teacher in the West, while his son Yeshi breaks away to embrace the modern world. Discover ways to encourage discussions about the preservation of Tibetan culture, or more broadly about spirituality and mediation in your own faith.
  • Host a screening for your faith community. Follow up with a discussion about the commonalities and distinctions between your own traditions and the Buddhist teachings shared in the film.

  • Choose a single message or teaching from the film and, together with your faith community, meditation group or another group, discuss how to actualize that teaching in your lives. Commit to taking specific action steps based on your discussion.

  • Investigate the ways in which the survival of Tibetan culture is threatened and select a way to support its preservation. See the films or other websites in the Resources section for possible opportunities, or visit

  • Host a screening as part of a special father-son gathering. Use the film to facilitate conversations between parents and their children.

Get informed about the issues in the film and lead a discussion in your community.

Discussion Guide

Discussion Guide

Filmed over twenty years, My Reincarnation follows Tibetan spiritual master Chögyal Namkhai Norbu as he rises to prominence as a Buddhist teacher in the West, while his son, Yeshi, recognized at birth as the reincarnation of a famous spiritual master, breaks away from his father's tradition to embrace the modern world in which he was raised. With unprecedented access to the family's private life, the film explores the father-son drama that results from a leader's attempt to keep his threatened spiritual legacy alive through a son who is equally determined to establish an independent identity of his own.

Though My Reincarnation is about a Buddhist leader, the film explores universal themes of family, heritage, cultural survival, growing old and growing up. It will appeal to a very broad range of community. Anyone open to spiritual journeys will be interested in the film's depiction of every-day lives in which the sacred and the mundane routinely intersect.

Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan

In this lesson, students will research and discuss what Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Hinduism teach in terms of what happens when people die. Students will also watch two video clips that show a Buddhist man named Yeshi as he first resists and later accepts the idea that he is the reincarnation of a famous spiritual master. These clips provide interesting insights into Tibetan Buddhism and challenge students to consider how beliefs about death influence the way they live their lives. This lesson will also provide an opportunity for students to think critically about the differences and similarities between religions and belief systems.

Reading List

Delve Deeper

This multi-media resource list, compiled by Marc Chery of San Diego Public Library, provides a range of perspectives on the issues raised by the POV documentary My Reincarnation. Learn more about Buddhism, Tibet, and the spiritual belief of reincarnation.

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