“Before the shooting of Little Buddha I saw a movie called The Reincarnation of Khensur Rinpoche, directed by Tenzing Sonam and Ritu Sarin, a beautiful documentary about a monk who goes to Tibet, smuggles a child out of Tibet, takes him to the Dalai Lama and the oracle, and is told — Yes, this is the reincarnation of your master.”
– Bernardo Bertolucci, Sight and Sound, April 1994
Choenzey is a 47-year-old monk living in a Tibetan refugee monastery in South India. His spiritual master, Khensur Rinpoche, a revered high lama, has been dead for four years. According to Tibetan belief, he will soon be reincarnated. It is Choenzey’s responsibility, as his closest disciple, to find the reincarnation and to look after him. The film follows Choenzey’s search and his eventual discovery of an impish but gentle 4-year-old boy who is recognized by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan State Oracle to be the reincarnation. Without sentimentality, the film captures the moving relationship that develops between the erstwhile disciple and his young master.