Believing that highly-evolved lamas choose to be reborn to lead the rest of us to nirvana, children born at auspicious times are carefully watched for signs of being a reincarnate and are usually identified at a young age by their precociousness, their incredible religious knowledge and identification of things and people from their former lives. These special people are called trulkus or reincarnated lamas - the most famous being the Dalai Lama. In the last remaining Himalayan Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan, the reincarnate tradition has taken a curious turn. Suddenly it seems more and more children are claiming to be born again lamas. The situation is so worrying that the Bhutanese government has stepped in to oversee the ancient process of identifying reincarnates. Born-Again Buddhists turns the spotlight on the world’s foremost reincarnation hotspot to unravel the mysteries of this centuries-old Himalayan belief.
DIRECTOR BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE:
Lian Pek is an award-winning documentary film-maker and journalist with a distinguished career in television news and current affairs. The first Singaporean Anchor hired by CNN, she was based in Hong Kong for 5 years where she fronted all of their flagship Asian programmes including the network’s first regional tech show, which she also conceptualized and launched. Prior to CNN, Lian was Anchor/Correspondent/Bureau Chief of TV with Bloomberg Television and Business Editor/Anchor of Media Corp News, now Channel News Asia.
Born Again Buddhists is her second documentary film. Her first film, Sayonara Changi, won the student jury prize at Academia Film Olomouz. The film followed a group of Australian, British and Singaporean Prisoners of War back to one of World War Two's most notorious prisons in South East Asia - Changi prison - to bid farewell to the place that incarcerated them more than 60 years ago.