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© NOVA DECEMBER 2010 5
We know from the first scene of
Dalai Lama Renaissance that
His Holiness the 14th Dalai
Lama is a very old soul indeed. Footage
of him as an eight year old gazing directly
at the camera, an object of intense interest
in Tibet at that time no doubt, is
mesmerising. We see the great Buddha of
Compassion he has become in adulthood.
His presence, commanding even
when he is trying his hardest not to
dominate any gathering, which is all the
time, permeates this unusual film which
follows the travels of 40 Western thinkers
to his compound at Dharamsala in the
Himalayas in India. Their purpose is to
develop a concept of synthesis -- the
group has even given itself this name -- to
achieve transformation through a higher,
synthesised, truth evolving from the
meeting of separate ideas.
Some impressive people have been
drawn to achieve this high sounding
outcome -- and, perhaps just as
importantly, the chance to meet personally
with the Dalai Lama. They include two
quantum physicists from What the Bleep
Do We Know? Fred Alan Wolf and Amit
Goswami, it seems in perpetual conflict
with each other, and others such as
Michael Beckwith (The Secret), radio host
and author Thom Hartmann and social
scientist Jean Houston. Right from the
beginning, the Dalai Lama senses the risk
of good intentions becoming lost in the
inevitable '"group speak" and emphasises
"a practical plan" to achieve the goal of
"sharing good human values". Much of
the conflict of the movie centres on just
this point as all participants work their
way forward to achieving something of
which they can all be proud. Our two
quantum physicists stand toe to toe for
much of the time, with my sympathies
firmly in the corner of the feisty ("I'm
an a....hole") Fred Alan Wolf, who senses
the vital importance of the Dalai Lama's
goal of an outcome that will benefit all
humanity, rather than simply following
the process or, as in Goswami's case,
needing to be right all the time!
Some truly impressive people emerge
from this movie, along with Wolf. Others
who resonated with me (and I sense
director Khashyar Darvich's approval
too) are Frances Korken, the sparky
publisher of Ye s magazine and a professor
in comparative religion from a "small"
US college, Tom Forsthoefel, who
symbolically sheds his coat and tie by Day
Two as he grows in the presence of true
Dalai Lama Renaissance is a
privileged glimpse into the private world
of His Holiness, complete with some
glorious mountaintop views, scenes of
colourful court ritual, monks at prayer
or animated discussion on points of
theology and twirling prayer wheels,
together with some fascinating historical
footage of the days before Tibet changed
forever with the Chinese Invasion in 1950.
- Margaret Evans
Dalai Lama Renaissance will be screening in
Perth at the Luna Cinema on December 23.
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