This is the masterful portrait of the late 16th Gyalwa Karmapa,
the great Tibetan Buddhist master known as the Black Hat Lama. The
Karmapa is the head of the Karma Kagyu lineage, one of the four great
lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. His line of successive reincarnations has
its origins in the 13th century when it was the first to identify tulkus,
reincarnations of Buddhist teachers. He is recognized as the embodiment
of the teachings of his lineage, one that traces its source from
teacher to disciple through Tibet's great teachers Milarepa and Marpa
to India's Naropa and Tilopa all the way back to the Shakyamuni Buddha.
Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, was born in Tibet in
1924. During the 1959 invasion by the People's Republic of China, the
Karmapa left Tibet and settled in Rumtek, Sikkim, India. The
construction of his new Rumtek monastery was completed in 1966.
In 1974, the Karmapa set out on his first world tour; he undertook a
second tour in 1977. While traveling in 1981, he died in Zion,
Illinois, north of Chicago. He was returned to Rumtek for cremation.
The film journeys with him in North America where he visited the Hopi
Nation, offered teachings and performed the Black Crown Ceremony (Vajra Makut),
enjoyed everything from zoos to video arcades, and initiated the
construction of Karma Triyana Dharmachakra in Woodstock, New York, the
seat of his lineage in North America. His cremation in Rumtek is
The narration script was written by the late Rick Fields, the well-known author of How the Swans Came to the Lake and a founding editor of Tricycle and The Vajradhatu Sun.
Lion's Roar, DVD, 50 minutes, $24.95