A review of the movie “Unmistaken Child,” directed and produced by Nati Baratz, Ilil Alexander and Arik Bernstein.
I am not a Buddhist Philosophy connoisseur, but this movie touched me so deeply I might as well tell my Jewish family I want to join a Monastery in Tibet and become a Monk tomorrow.
Now, before my dad finds out and threatens to kill me, let me tell you why I suddenly feel this way.
As Westerners, we live according to logic and necessity. We often worry about the minuscules and most insignificant things that are making our lives “a living hell,” such as our postman delivering us the wrong mail or our mother-in-law not wanting to babysit our children so that we have to miss our favorite Yoga class. We are so entrenched in our daily “worries” that when the real problems, such as the death of a loved one, arise, we weep, blame others for loss and feel helpless.
Well, in the Eastern Philosophy, instead, since life is intended as the pursuit of happiness as the most pure and sincere path to a calm and awaken mind, nothing is ever so terrible to change our state of being, not even the death of our dearest Master. Happiness, as His Holiness the 14th Daila Lama Tenzin Gyatso means it, is a life’s pursuit and we, as human beeing, can train the “mind factor” to enhance happiness is our daily life for it to be present in every given situation, even the most difficult ones.
Well, Tenzin Zopa, the main protagonist of the “Unmistaken Child” is the perfect example of how once can train oneself to be happy no matter what.
“Our moment-to-moment happiness depends on our outlook on life…how we perceive our situation,” said His Holiness in his interview with Doctor Howard C. Cutler, the author of the book “The Art of Happiness.” And Tenzin Zopa is let to face such necessity when his life-long leacher Lama Konchog suddenly dies and he is asked to find the child in which his Master reincarnated into. Tenzin Zopa is devastated, but he recognizes his life’s pursuit of happiness is to embark in such journey.
He has to leave and find the new Lama because that is the only way he will be happy again. He believes in fact to be born for such greater deed. This does not mean there is not doubt or hesitation in his mind. He is scared he will disappoint his superior leaders, including the Daila Lama, but he is so focused on finding where his deceased Master’s soul had gone hiding that he is willing to look in each children’s eyes to find him.
Now, do you see us in this world taking up such a task in the complete, pitch dark? Well, maybe. But, to make this our life purpose? I do not think so. We rather become lawyers, famous journalists or money-making doctors. But is this our interpretation of the “pursuit of happiness” or is it our ego prevailing over our true desire?
No matter which one as far as we are not disappointed if we end up becoming someone else and we stay positive in search for that “deep happiness” we may survive. BUt to live in peace, we might consider following Tenzin Zopa’s quest as an example. His journey is defiantly inspiring that way: He put his life on hold for four years to find the new Lama and whether he finds him or not, he find the true prize–enlightenment– is in the journey.
Now, do we have to believe reincarnation to enjoy the movie? Not at all, just go with an open mind and be ready to experience some jealousy for such serene presence and wonderful mountain scenarios. Now, if you feel overwhelmed with your “not-so-meaningful life” afterword, then the movie’s role was accomplished.