Watch Wheel of Time
- 1 hr 23 min
Wheel of Time is a documentary film from 2003, directed by German filmmaker Werner Herzog. The film is about the Kalachakra, a complex and intricate Buddhist ritual that takes place over a period of ten days. The film revolves around the Dalai Lama's visit to Bodh Gaya, India, in 2002 to lead the Kalachakra initiation. The Kalachakra, which means "wheel of time" in Sanskrit, is a ritual that has been performed for over a thousand years, intended to create peace and harmony in the world. The film features interviews with various monks and followers of Buddhism, as well as scenes from the actual ritual itself. We see monks of all ages and backgrounds preparing for the ritual, performing complex dances, and making intricate sand mandalas. Herzog also shows us the construction of the enormous Kalachakra stupa, a structure that symbolizes the Buddhist universe, from its foundation to its final completion. Throughout the film, the Dalai Lama reflects on his own life and his role as a spiritual leader, and discusses the importance of the Kalachakra in today's world. He talks about the need for peace and compassion, and his hope that the Kalachakra ritual will help bring about a more harmonious world. The film also features interviews with several Western Buddhists who have converted to the religion. They share their stories of how they found Buddhism, and how it has changed their lives. Additionally, we see scenes of them participating in the Kalachakra ritual, as they immerse themselves in the rituals and traditions of their newfound faith. One of the most memorable parts of the film is when Herzog interviews a Tibetan political prisoner, Takna Jigme Sangpo, who spent 37 years in prison for speaking out against the Chinese government's treatment of Tibetans. Sangpo shares his experience of being imprisoned, as well as his thoughts on the Dalai Lama and the importance of the Kalachakra ritual. Another powerful moment in the film is when we meet Lama Lhundup Woeser, a monk who has spent nine years in solitary confinement for participating in pro-Tibetan protests. He shares his experience of being isolated from the world, and how the teachings of Buddhism helped him to endure his time in prison. Overall, Wheel of Time is a fascinating look at one of the most important rituals in Tibetan Buddhism, and the impact it has on the lives of those who practice it. Through Herzog's lens, we see the beauty and complexity of the Kalachakra, as well as the hope that it brings to those who participate in it. The film also sheds light on the struggles faced by Tibetans under Chinese rule, and the resilience and courage of those fighting for their freedom.