Friday nights screening of the documentary film “Dalai Lama Renaissance” was presented by its director Khashyar Dravich who is in the UK and Ireland as part of a tour planned to coincide with the Dalia Lama’s visit to the country. It focuses on a group of visionaries, academics and experts in their respected fields who came together with the express intention of meeting to discuss and find solutions to some of the world’s problems and to present these to the Dalai Lama in his home in Dharamsala.
The film is intensely captivating for many reasons – the love and compassion that radiates from the Dalai Lama is heart-warming as is his excellent sense of humour. But the journey that the group members also embark on, physically, emotionally and spiritually also draws you in and acts as a mirror to your own awareness. It is interesting to witness the process by which the group members travel from an egocentric and narrowly focused perspective to a consciousness that is more long term and heart-centred.
With stunning visual shots, narration by Harrison Ford and an informed question and answer session afterwards, it’s easy to see why the film has won many awards and is warmly received by audiences across the globe. I loved the intimate glimpses into the life of the Dalai Lama – his childlike joy coupled with the master’s sophisticated knowledge of the world, his warmth and wisdom, and insistence that he is just a simple Buddhist monk yet also carries the projections and adorations of millions as a spiritual leader.
Archive footage showed the Dalai Lama leaving Tibet for exile in India in 1959 and I wondered what he was thinking and feeling on that journey. He could have no idea of the life that awaited him. What would it be like to flee from your home as your countrymen and women were murdered by colonialist invaders intent on taking the land, its resources and crushing its spiritual and cultural traditions?
Yet when economic sanctions against China are proposed by a group member to him, he speaks touchingly to dissuade him as sanctions would bring hardship to ordinary Chinese people already living in tough conditions. I found this extremely moving and revealed his overall concern for humanity as a whole rather than as separate groups or beings. I think the Dalai Lama must inspire everyone he comes into contact with whilst also reminding them that they too are capable of greatness.