The Lion's Roar
THE LION'S ROAR: The Life and Times of HH Ranjung Rigpe Dorje, the XVIth KarmapaA documentary film by Mark Elliott
50 minutes, 1985. Digitally remastered 2006. NTSC DVD
An extraordinary film on the life, teachings, and death of His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, head of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism.
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.
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 vividly documented.
Featuring extensive interviews with the central figures of the Kagyu lineage (Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Shamar Rinpoche, Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, Tai Situ Rinpoche, Kalu Rinpoche, and Gyaltsap Rinpoche), rare footage shot at his monastery in Sikkim, and during his 1974 visit to the USA - including the Black Crown ceremony, this film conveys the cultural context and basic beliefs of Vajrayana Buddhism. Narrated by James Coburn.