We streamed this video on Netflix a few evenings ago. In brief, it is a documentary following the search for the reincarnation of a religious leader in Nepal. Specifically, it trails a young monk who had devoted his life to following an older leader and being his constant companion. WHen the older man dies, the younger one gets assigned the task of locating his reincarnation. This means that the younger man travels on foot to village after village sitting with baby boys between the age of 1 and one and half. He does finally locate a baby who grabs and manages to put on the former religious leader’s pink stone prayer necklace. When he will not let anyone take it off his neck, it is taken as a sign that he is the reincarnation.
It is later in the film when the parents tearfully say good-bye to their toddler, that it becomes clear that the young man has found a new focus for his devotion. This devotion is of course based in religion, but the film shows the young monk’s grappling with the whims and vagaries of caring for a two year old. Through his belief and devotion to his religion, he has become a parent. I was struck by how this strange “adoption’ was sanctioned by the beliefs of the religion