Best Film I Watched This Year

It’s Oscar time again. Will American Hustle, Wolf of Wall Street or 12 Years a Slave win best film? Well,  I have my own best film nominee.

The other night my teacher Alison West invited me to watch a DVD called Brilliant Moon. It’s a 2010 film about the life of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, the late head of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism who was renowned for his masterful teaching.

Not knowing a tremendous amount about the intricacies of his lineage didn’t hinder my appreciation for his work at all.

But the film enabled me to reflect on several qualities we could all begin to develop with more clarity.

• Each person Khyentse Rinpoche encountered in the film was met with recognition. All with eye contact and most with a joyous smile. This appreciation put students at ease immediately.

• He had a strong understanding of who he was and what his role in society should be from a very early age. While his parents tried to push him in one direction his essential nature revealed itself while he was ill and the acceptance of that path or dharma by his family healed him.

• His very full life included sickness, marriage, sex, parenthood, loss of a child, the death of his teachers, living in a cave alone for over a decade and being housed by the Royal Family of Bhutan. Because he experienced the full range of human happiness and sorrow he radiated an aura of compassion that was palpable.

So many of the big budget films I saw this year were about violence, ignorance and deceit. It was such a refreshing contrast to see this “little” movie about the removal of obstructions to enlightenment through the life of a great teacher.

–Brettte Popper


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