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Review: Unmistaken Child (2008)

Director: | 102 minutes |

The concept of reincarnation has been around since long before Christ and is best known as a belief system within Hinduism, Buddhism and various modern New Age movements. Yet it also exists in Judaism, where it is called Gilgal and although it is no longer recognized within Islam and Christianity, the belief in reincarnation once existed within these religions. The how and why is not unambiguous, but the basic idea is the same everywhere: a non-physical consciousness (call it the soul for the sake of convenience), leaves the after dying and returns later in a fresh body. Target? Learning life lessons, or dissolving karma, until, which is Buddhist again, the state of enlightenment reaches this consciousness. According to the Buddhists, all this does not happen voluntarily, that is only possible, when the soul has already reached that enlightened state. It can then choose to return to be of service to humanity, for example. And to enjoy all the splendor that our planet has to offer, of course. You are in the right place for that in Tibet. There comes humility, one of the most important Buddhist virtues, of itself, when you surrender to all the splendor that this overwhelming nature has to offer. With all those beautiful mountains, with lakes and waterfalls and vast valleys with forests and rivers. And then we only see it on ! For a moment we are in a completely different world. Which is also primitive by the way. You are in the right place for that in Tibet. There comes humility, one of the most important Buddhist virtues, of itself, when you surrender to all the splendor that this overwhelming nature has to offer. With all those beautiful mountains, with lakes and waterfalls and vast valleys with forests and rivers. And then we only see it on film! For a moment we are in a completely different world. Which is also primitive by the way. You are in the right place for that in Tibet. There comes humility, one of the most important Buddhist virtues, of itself, when you surrender to all the splendor that this overwhelming nature has to offer. With all those beautiful mountains, with lakes and waterfalls and vast valleys with forests and rivers. And then we only see it on film! For a moment we are in a completely different world. Which is also primitive by the way.

With all that beauty, you would almost forget that the people there are very poor and have to work themselves completely drowsy every day to make ends meet, if that works at all. Compared to those people, the monks are rich, very rich. They have nice, clean clothes and a full plate of food every day. They have to meditate a lot and there are only men. In any case, it is not only an honor for parents to be able to give their child to the monastery, but also an assurance of that child’s future. Many make up the craziest stories to make Tenzin believe their child is ‘the one’. Which does not alter the fact that there is nothing more difficult for parents than giving up their child. And that moment comes naturally and is very moving. Tenzin’s dedication is also moving. It is wonderful to see with how much respect and compassion he treats the potential candidates and their parents. And how much patience he has. It is impressive when, after a long search, he has found his master and undeniably recognizes him as a remarkably wise child of less than two!

Incidentally, the English word unmistaken does not actually exist. The word one should have used is unmistakable, which means unmistakable. Nevertheless, unmistaken covers the load well, because it is assumed that the act of recognition has already taken place and after that act there is indeed no doubt about it: this child is the reincarnation of Lama Konchog. How this proof was arrived at is by standards not exactly commonplace, let alone verifiable, and yet it is unmistakable. By way of comparison: in the Netherlands a well-known clairvoyant is tried for providing misleading information to a person seeking help (also a well-known Dutch person), with fatal consequences for the latter. The first tries to defend itself with truths ‘passed on’ to it. But that evidence is impossible since it relies on sources that are not empirically verifiable according to the court. Understandably you would say, it would be a nice place in that courtroom, with all those ‘passed on’ truths. But on the other hand, in Tibet the successor of an important spiritual leader is traced with the help of astrology and dream interpretation. The astrologer says, “His father’s name starts with an ‘a’ and you have to search there and there.” And he is right. Then you can of course respond with the question how can you be sure that the little boy they find is really the incarnation of that Lama? The answer is: go and be amazed, because after seeing ‘Unmistaken Child’ there is little ground left to doubt the unmistakability of this incarnation. Really Believable!

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