"Never Give Up: Karmapa 17" documentary
A film about The 17th Karmapa, the Kagyu Monlam prayer festival and three women inspired into social action to help in Bodhgaya, India.
Tibetan Buddhism may be the fastest growing spiritual tradition in the world today. Since the Chinese invaded Tibet lineage teachers have spread the teachings of Buddha around around the world. Unlike other religions, Buddhism is more a kin to a science of the mind. Training the mind through meditation and loving-kindness becomes the basis for genuine compassionate activity in society.
The documentary, “Never Give Up - Karmapa 17” explores the inspiration and activities of the His Holiness the 17th Karmapa as he leads the annual prayer festival in Bodhgayadia in the year of the Anniversary Celebration of 900 years of continual rebirths of Karmapas for the benefit of beings. The 17th Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorje is the head of the ancient Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. Karmapa means the one who carries out “the activities of all the Buddhas”, “the fulfiller of karma.” The Karmapa was the first intentionally reincarnated lama to be recognized in Tibetan Buddhism. Many consider him the second highest ranking Lama under His Holiness the Dalai Lama and a living Buddha. Although the Karmapa is a spiritual leader and not a political one, since his daring escape from China in 2000 he has been thrust onto the world stage in media highlighting politics. He is a dynamic and charismatic leader who speaks frequently about the environment, women’s rights, animal suffering, vegetarianism and taking action to ease the suffering of all beings. In his teachings in Bodhgaya he emphasized that “spiritual” practice on our meditation cushions in our shrine rooms with all the ritual objects of Tibetan Buddhism surrounding us is not enough. He said that in these troubled times we also need take action in the world, manifesting our compassionate activity every day. Even though we may have small bodies and minds, because limitless sentient beings are suffering, we need to have limitless compassion and work for their benefit.
Directors James Gritz and Fernanda Rivero use footage from the 28th Kagyu Monlam prayer festival and images of the activities of the 17th Karmapa to illustrate his teachings on wisdom and compassion. The film includes interviews with great contemporary spiritual teachers like Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Ponlop Rinpoche, Mingyur Rinpoche and Matthieu Ricard. In this film they also follow the stories of three women inspired by the Karmapa and Buddha’s teachings on compassion to work for the benefit benefit of beings in Bodhgaya. Dominique founded a tutorial school for the children of Bodhgaya and works as a nurse to ease the suffering of the handicapped and sick. Joy is dedicated to helping the puppies and dogs of Bodhgaya survive in a difficult and dangerous environment. The third woman works with the environmental issues of Bodhgaya even using the help of Buddhist monks to clean up one of the more polluted areas in India.
“Never Give Up” tells the poignant story of The Karmapa and the bravery of those who have sacrificed personal comfort to work in immense poverty found in Bodhgaya. The documentary raises awareness of this sacred place where the Buddha attained his enlightenment.
After working two months filming in India we are currently editing the movie. The directors have to date personally funded film costs over $12,000.00 We also had the volunteer contribution of the film maker Maia Christensen and a number of others to help make what we have done to date possible.
We are raising funds to cover the costs of finishing the film. We need additional funds to cover the post-production costs for the next six months. These include hi-end video editing, color correction, sound design, animation and film score. www.openheartfilms.com
- (90 days)