NURTURING COMPASSION, the latest release from Crestone Films, is the continuing story of the Seventeenth Gyalwang Karmapa, leader of the Karma Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, and his tour of Germany in 2014, his first-ever visit to Europe. Following in the footsteps of his previous incarnation, genuinely regarded as one of the 20th Century’s great saints, the Karmapa faces major challenges.
Still a young man, he must live up to the legacy of his predecessor and guide his lineage through challenging and difficult times. Illustrated by archival footage, the film—and the Karmapa himself—give an account of his happy early childhood in Tibet, before his recognition and subsequent daring midwinter escape into exile in India. The Karmapa wishes to engage in the modern world and explore the ways in which he and his lineage can understand and contribute to the seemingly intractable environmental, social and political difficulties that afflict it.
BODHISATTVA portrays the Seventeenth Gyalwang Karmapa, one of the most important lamas in the world of Tibetan Buddhism, at a unique moment in his trajectory as a teacher: his first visit to the West, specifically, the United States. In this hour-long film, we meet not only the leader of the Kagyu Lineage, but also a young man of extraordinary warmth, humanity, and humor. The Karmapa speaks to packed auditoriums with a wisdom beyond his years.
What BODHISATTVA reveals most clearly is the Karmapa’s dis-arming honesty and genuine faith in his role as a 'bodhisattva,' or one born to benefit others. The film also tells us much about the fascinating question of transmission of religion, or belief system, from one culture to the next. As a sequel to Mark Elliott’s earlier film THE LION'S ROAR (1987), a documentary about the previous Karmapa’s first trip to the West, BODHISATTVA continues to chronicle the life of this significant spiritual figure and his role in the transmission of Buddhism to the West.