Filmmaker Johanna Lunn is an excellent storyteller, clearly guiding us through the Sakyong’s narrative from ancient to modern, through myth and reality, from the East of Tibetan monastic training to the youthful West of college parties, marathon running, and later the making of a pop/rap music video, an ode to no-self. Recognizing that he needed more training the Sakyong returned to India to study at Mindroling Monastery and with the greatest living teachers of Buddhism in Tibet including Penor Rinpoche, head of the Nyingma lineage and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, the teacher of teachers, who was a particularly significant mentor to the Sakyong.
Implicit in the film is the idea that there is no separation between the dharma teacher and the teachings. Thus the key concepts of the Shambhala world view are touched upon; basic goodness as the radical and necessary ground for cultivating happy and compassionate individuals as well as an enlightened society. Warriorship is shown to be the practice of bravery, requisite to be open and gentle towards self and other, the indispensability of meditation, the synchronizing of body and mind, a fresh model of rulership, and finally, the Rigden principle.
An Uncommon King is the story of enlightened rulership, about one man leading by example, about ancient dignity and wisdom holding a key to the ‘pickle’ the world is in today. It is about recognizing basic goodness in ourselves and in society, training to rule our sacred world beginning with our own minds.
Excerpted from an article by Steve Derrickson for Shambhala Times