Portrait of a Reincarnation.

An intimate portrait of a young Tibetan boy who is recognized as the reincarnation of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, one of the most revered Tibetan Buddhist masters of the twentieth century. He is known as the Yangsi, “the one who has come again into existence.”

Providing a unique window into the world of Tibetan Buddhism, this film is a coming of age story with universal themes, made over a fourteen year period by Mark Elliott, an acclaimed filmmaker and longtime student of Tibetan Buddhism.

Narrated by Yangsi Rinpoche, he gives a first-person account of his experience of growing up into, and coming to terms with, his unique inheritance. Beginning with his enthronement at age four before a crowd of fifteen thousand people in Kathmandu, Nepal and being taken away from his family to undergo his training, he is placed in the care of the previous Khyentse Rinpoche’s regent, Rabjam Rinpoche at Shechen Monastery. With unprecedented access, the film chronicles his life during disciplinary training, intimate family visits and transmission of ritual ceremonies by teachers who had received them from him during his former life.

Filmed largely in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan and in Nepal, it presents everyday events in a reincarnation’s life, where a mother’s love plays as important a role as high tantric empowerments. Where tradition is challenged by modernity, and human relationships are as vital as study. Where imperfection meets with aspiration. And where doubt challenges devotion when having to live up to great expectations.

“Yangsi” follows this process up to the age of eighteen, when he for the first time assumes the role of the teacher, embarking on a world tour to continue the work of his predecessor, to be of service to sentient beings. Perhaps never before has this process been so openly and engagingly portrayed, sharing Yangsi’s aim of how Buddhism can be relevant in the modern world.