To get an interview with the Dalai Lama is hard to come by. The director of this film, Rich Ray, began his quest to interview HH by hoping India would allow him access to the Dalai Lama. Ray isn’t an adherent to Buddhism. He was on a quest for answers that he felt were important as human beings we should be asking not only ourselves but our world religious leaders. Ray finally got through directly to HH’s office with a simple email to his offices. I really didn’t have any expectations for this movie. I was definitely curious about how it would be. If you had a chance to sit down to talk to HH, what would you ask him?
The first half of this movie is spent giving us a history of Tibet, how the Dalai Lama was forced into exile when China’s invasion was pending, a look at the horrific abuse that continues to this day of Tibetan peoples, and even a look at what the future may hold for Tibetan Buddhism. Watching some of the footage was hard at times to say the least but it is important to know this back history before listening to the Dalai Lama speaks.
I personally have never seen the Dalai Lama in person at a speaking engagement. I would love to be able to one day. This film gives a good glimpse at the nature of the Dalai Lama. He continually smiles and answers the questions honestly and openly. The questions start off kind of fluffy. I hoped that all the questions wouldn’t be like the beginning. I wasn’t disappointed.
One question Ray posed was “Why does America seem spiritually poorer than India?” HH simply answers:”Too much greed, limitless desire." The one quote that really stuck with me is “"Destruction of your so-called enemy is eventually destruction of yourself.” The Dalai Lama isn’t serious throughout the entire film. I have watched many interviews with him and despite what this man has been through, he has a smile and a chuckle for everyone he encounters.
I felt that this film would be good for people both new to Buddhism or even those of us who have been practicing for some time now. Although Ray seemed nervous during his interview (who wouldn’t be!), I believe this film is a step in the right direction on helping open the lines of communication between Buddhist and Non-Buddhists. Anyone can take something away from this film.
For more information about this movie and to find out if it is playing near you currently, see http://www.thedalailamamovie.com/