Unmistaken Child

Film Reviews

Review of a documentary about a Tibetan monk who had served his Lama for 23 years and is given the task to find the reincarnation of his master.

Nati BaratzIsraeli director Nati Baratz, while on assignment for another documentary about a group of Tibetan Jews, was drawn into filming the search for the reincarnation of Geshe Lama Koshong after meeting Tenzin Zopa while studying Tibetan Buddhism in Kathmandu’s Kopan Monastery in 2002. Tenzin spoke of Geshe Lama Konchog with great love, and asked everyone to pray for the swift return of the reincarnation of his master. “It could have been just another inspiring night in Asia, but it was not,” Baratz says. “I could not sleep the whole night, realizing that this great young man was actually searching for his master’s reincarnation. This was a story that had to be turned into a movie.”

It took five years to document this search with the cooperation of the Dalai Lama and several other Rimpoches, who gave him also the permission to film hitherto unseen sacred rituals and meetings.


After Geshe Lama Koshong’s cremation there are signs among his ashes that he will reincarnate. Tenzin Zopa who was the caretaker of his revered Lama is given the task to find the reincarnated boy. After astrological calculations made by a Tibetan Lama in Taiwan, a direction and some keywords are given – the father’s name of the incarnation would begin with an ‘A’, the place would have the syllable ‘TS’.

Tenzin sets out on this challenging journey with incredible longing to see once again his revered master. He is utterly devoted to the search, saying that to locate him is “a thousand times more important” than anything else. His gentleness and heartfelt manner is so touching to the point of tears welling up in my eyes.

To watch the unfolding of this incredible voyage is letting yourself be deeply immersed into another realm – a world where mysticism is a fact of life, where trust in existence is being lived day by day. To see the respectful interaction among the Tibetan population and Tibetan monks, the humor in their eyes, is an incredible rare gift.

The visuals are stunning, following Tenzin’s journey by foot, mule and eventually helicopter through fantastic landscapes and remote Tibetan villages, asking the people about their young children of age 1 to 1 ½, who seem to have special characteristics. He performs rarely seen tests designed to determine the likelihood of each child showing signs of being his reincarnated teacher.

It is the devotion of Tibetans to the liberation of all sentient beings that is of utmost importance in their lives – so totally contrary to the material world – and it is incredible to perceive. I highly recommend this authentic film to all those on the path ….


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