The planet does not need more “successful people.”
The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers,
restorers, storytellers, and lovers of all kinds.
— His Holiness the Dalai Lama
The Inner Revolution, a new documentary film on the fundamental importance of self-knowledge and inner wisdom for transforming our lives and our relationship with our troubled world, recently celebrated its world premier. The project is the brainchild, or perhaps heartchild, of German filmmaker and occasional Buddhistdoor Global contributor Victoria Knobloch, who spoke with us about the inspirations and aspirations that helped to bring this labor of love to fruition.
The film, which premiered on 25 September—in an online format due to pandemic restrictions—examines the themes of human potential and happiness, and the pressing need for greater insight, realization, and connection in order to, in Knobloch’s own words, “present a vision of transformation through self-knowledge and awareness, emphasizing the necessity of an inner change of perception to save our threatened planet.”
The project brings together contemporary teachers and practitioners of ancient wisdom traditions, who share their perspectives on the challenges and crises facing the modern world, and on recognizing the conviction, courage, inner strength, and personal responsibility needed to address them and to realize the ultimate purpose of human life: liberation.
“The film is very solution-oriented, pointing to ways in which we can move forward constructively in these troubled times,” Knobloch tells Buddhistdoor Global. “In this way we hope that this documentary can in some small way make a contribution to the expansion of consciousness on Earth.”
The Inner Revolution offers intimate insights from nine eminent thinkers: Tibetan Buddhist nun Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche; Vedanta teacher Swami Tattvarupananda Saraswati; scholar of Indian art, culture, religion, and philosophy Vasanti Jayaswal; satsang teacher John David; meditation and Dharma teacher Jaya Ashmore; spiritual teacher Jacqueline Maria Longstaff; yogi and spiritual teacher Govind Radhakrishnan; spiritual teacher Tilicho; and yogi and Buddhist teacher Chitartha. Each shares their deeply considered reflections on the path of sincere self-inquiry that leads to a genuine relationship with life and with the world.
The Buddhist perspective on living with wisdom in The Inner Revolution comes mainly from the revered Tibetan lama and Buddhist nun Mindrolling Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche, a teacher in both the Kagyu and Nyingma schools of Vajrayana Buddhism whom Knobloch considers her heart teacher.
“Each of these messages of wisdom is profoundly important,” Knobloch emphasizes. “Humans must revolutionize their inner lives, or else there will never be real harmony in the external world.”
The Inner Revolution, is an expression of Knobloch’s deep concern about humanity’s understanding of life, of the world, and of our place in it. Through it, she seeks to share the tried and tested wisdom practices that empower people to create a more compassionate and mindfully manifested reality, rather than being misled by collective destructive misconceptions, with particular regard to the capitalistic myths of unending material growth and insatiable consumption.
Knobloch says with emphasis: “Mostly we are unaware of our subconscious motivations, judgements, values, and expectations, but these are exactly what are governing our thoughts, which then lead to our actions. Because we are often unaware of these subconscious drives and don’t have any control over them, they often produce outcomes that we don’t want, or that are even harmful to ourselves and others. This is what the Buddha called suffering!”
The documentary examines the roles of ignorance and delusion in the human condition. The problems facing the world today, which, Knobloch underscores, cannot be solved through the traditional expressions of politics and economics that brought us to this present juncture: “If mankind really wants happiness and freedom, we have to free ourselves from ingrained theories, dogmas, and concepts that make us rigid, one-dimensional, narrow-minded, and constrained. If we finally devote most of our energies into this endeavor, the world will heal, life can flourish, and there will be much more joy in the world.”
Although The Inner Revolution has only recently premiered, a sequel is already in the works to develop and expand upon the themes presented in the first film.
“The second part of the documentary will delve more deeply into the essence of self-knowledge and will investigate our unconscious collective destructive concepts, especially concerning the mechanistic and utilitarian outlook of our modern times,” says Knobloch. “We humans should not exploit each other and destroy the very planet we are living on. But why do we do so? What is the root of it? A sensible life, lived in harmony, can come about when we truly recognize the value of our own lives and the value of the lives of the people and nature around us. To be fully alive and to understand who we really are is to acknowledge the sanctity and unifying aspect of all life.”
“Films have the potential to reach many people and nourish the expansion of consciousness throughout the world,” Knobloch concludes. “Due to the coronavirus situation, which has cut off many release options for filmmakers, we decided to distribute the film online so that as many people as possible will be able to watch and benefit from the documentary.
“I would deeply like to express my gratitude to all people involved in the making of this film—people who supported the project and had faith in it. Thank you for your inspiration, your patience, support, and your encouragement. Be blessed and please share the wonderful outcome of this project to all for whom it could be of interest. May the love of life precede the utility of it!”
Victoria Knobloch is a classical singer, photographer, and filmmaker living in the German city of Leipzig. Her personal spiritual quest started in 2013 with a course in Buddhism at Kopan Monastery in Kathmandu, which is affiliated with the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT). Shortly afterward, Knobloch met Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche. Knobloch also cites as her inspirations the Tibetan monk Lama Thubten Yeshe; Shambhala founder Chogyam Trungpa; Advaita Vedanta teachers Ramesh Balsekar and Rupert Spira; the spiritual explorer Paul Brunton; psychoanalyst and social philosopher Erich Fromm; the yogi Paramahamsa Yogananda; and the spiritual teacher G. I. Gurdjieff.