10 Questions For The Dalai Lama (Rick Ray)
Director Rick Ray is no neophyte when it comes to traveling the world and reporting what he sees and experiences in various cultures, cities and their people. When the opportunity to film a travel video in India popped up, he jumped at the chance. Part of the deal was to have an interview arranged with the Dalai Lama, but upon his arrival in India he realized that if he was going to meet with the master, he’d have to make those arrangements himself.
To his surprise, this was accomplished through email, and in just three months he had 45 minutes to pose 10 questions to the Dalai Lama, so he had some homework to do. To prepare for this, he delved into Buddhism by living in an actual Tibetian monastery in the Nubra Valley, which lies between Pakistan and China. Within these Indian Himalayans, the Tibetan culture still exists as it had for hundreds of years before.
The film gives viewers a chance to do their own homework on the Dalai Lama’s personal history and the history of the Tibetian people and their country. We also get more insight into how the Chinese Government has annihilated their culture, beyond just reading headlines or a bumper sticker.
Each Dalai Lama is a reincarnate of Buddha, and the process for choosing successors relies on signs from nature, along with the inner voices and instincts of the high ranking Buddhist priests.
As the black and white footage is presented and the story unfolds, the anger can’t help but rise. In 1950, when the Dalai Lama was 15, he was faced with the Chinsese invasion of Tibet by the socialist Chinese armies. At first he thought it could be a beneficial union, but he learned that this was not the case. Mau let him know that the Tibetan “religion is poison” and that China was an enemy of Buddhism.
Turning to America for help, he was shunned, since the Buddhist religion was negated by the Christian based politicians citizens and the Tibetan country had nothing to offer the U.S. in terms of assets, oil or other channels for monetary gains.
So the Dalai Lama turned to his neighbors in India and was welcomed with open arms. Dharamsala became the Tibetan government in exile, where the Dalai Lama still calls home.
Over the course of time 1,200,000 Tibetan people have been killed and approximately 6,000 Buddhist monasteries destroyed by the Chinese. This includes all art and anything with religious significance. It’s heartbreaking to see a lone boy sitting with a sign reading, “We have no home. Chinese have taken it.”
When the day finally arrives to meet with the Dalai Lama, Ray learns that there is still a lot of hope that someday there will be an answer to China’s occupation of Tibet. While the Dalai Lama observes China’s pursuit of economic power and the adjustments they are making in order to be accepted into the world economy, he hopes that this will lead to the integration of democracy within their government and culture.
The answers to the 10 questions start to unfold, and it is fascinating to hear and connect with the Dalai Lama’s words; how he admires the U.S.’s democracy, spirit and freedom, but that our greed and lack of discipline account for the many troubles and issues our government and citizen’s experience on a daily basis.
“When anything is used in the wrong way, whether it is politics or religion or both, it becomes dirty.” A simple statement, but one that is rarely if ever heard from the lips of a politician or someone in a religious position, a minister, priest or otherwise.
He also believes in the power of truth, to having openness and access to all information. In China, this is not the case, as the government retains control over what their people have access to, using the Internet to spread propaganda and lies.
As a result, Yahoo and Google have succumbed to filtering search results on each engine in exchange for profits each company is making by opening up their services into the Chinese market.
Recently, Yahoo also requested that the US District Court for Northern California dismiss a lawsuit brought about by Chinese nonconformists, Wang Xiaoning and his wife Yu Ling, who alleged that Yahoo turned over private information (private email records, email addresses, ID numbers, etc.) belonging to the couple to Chinese authorities. This led to the man’s imprisonment, and in May, another plaintiff was added to the suit; Chinese journalist Shi Tao.
This film is powerful and is a must see for everyone. With China’s power in the world economy increasing, their tactics and traditions for restricting freedoms and democracy will continue to be exposed to the world audience. One can’t help if Karma had a play in the toy recall, which put both Mattel and China in a volatile position, both of whom are making financial gains worker’s receive low pay and retricted rights.
In the meantime, The Dalai Lama’s words and sense of humor alone can give one to hundreds of thousands the hope that there will be a solution sometime in the future. While it’s easy to go with the animal instinct of anger and revenge, it’s much more powerful to look within for strength, letting the non-violent pursuit of peace lead the way.
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