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Religions 2018, 9(4), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9040124

Khyentse Norbu’s Film Travelers and Magicians: Experiencing Impermanence, No Self, and Emptiness

Asian Studies and Religion Department, Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, IL 60045, USA
Received: 13 March 2018 / Revised: 30 March 2018 / Accepted: 3 April 2018 / Published: 11 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Practicing Buddhism through Film)
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Abstract

This article examines the filmmaking of writer and director Khyentse Norbu (Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche), a Tibetan-Bhutanese lama with major responsibilities as a senior Vajrayana teacher, and recognized as the third incarnation of the founder of the non-sectarian Khyentse lineage. Focusing particularly on his film Travelers and Magicians (2003), the article explores how Khyentse Norbu creates an experience of Buddhist seeing: an experience of impermanence [anitya], no self [anātma], dependent arising [pratītyasamutpāda], and emptiness [śūnyatā]. The filmmaker draws the audience into worlds that appear to exist and not exist, shaped as they are by these interrelated Buddhist realities. Moving back and forth between a frame story and its embedded narratives, the film invites the viewer to experience the emotional turmoil of two protagonists as emotions shape and re-shape their behavior and influence the actions of those around them. Identifying with the protagonists in Travelers and Magicians, the audience experiences the Buddhist perception that life is a myriad of mutually dependent realities: the powerful reality of illusion and the illusory nature of reality. View Full-Text
Keywords: causes and conditions; dependent arising [pratītyasamutpāda]; Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche; emptiness; Guru Rinpoche; illusion; impermanence; liminal; no self; Padmasambhava; ritual; transformation causes and conditions; dependent arising [pratītyasamutpāda]; Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche; emptiness; Guru Rinpoche; illusion; impermanence; liminal; no self; Padmasambhava; ritual; transformation
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Benton, C. Khyentse Norbu’s Film Travelers and Magicians: Experiencing Impermanence, No Self, and Emptiness. Religions 2018, 9, 124.

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