10 Questions for the Dalai Lama

Last night I watched a documentary/movie on cable that was called 10 Questions for the Dalai Lama. I had never seen this documentary by Rick Ray and when I saw it listed, I knew I had to watch it. In May of 2007, I took a short day trip to Houston by myself to go hear the Dalai Lama speak at Rice University. It was a day I will never forget. I wished I had seen this documentary before I went, because it would have provided even more insight on the Dalai Lama and his life.

Ray has traveled the world making films about different cultures and different people. In 2006, he got the opportunity to spend 45 minutes with the Dalai Lama and ask him 10 questions. According to Ray, to better prepare for his interview, he traveled around India to learn what he could about Buddhism and the Tibetan people in exile. He did not want to be regarded by His Holiness as uninterested and insincere as to the plight of the Tibetans. With only 45 minutes, which 10 questions should he ask? What a decision to have to make!

Ray called the Dalai Lama a “rock star of peace.” He also stated that the Dalai Lama rates with Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. He also stated that the Dalai Lama is really a “refugee” and has become a “citizen of the world.” During the first part of the film and throughout, Mr. Ray intertwined footage of the Dalai Lama through the years and presented a biography of this great man. Ray started with the history of the Buddha and the story of Siddhartha Gautama.

Ray’s questions were very well thought and not very easy questions. But the Dalai Lama’s answers were all very inspiring and thought provoking. I don’t remember the first question exactly, but it had to do with the number one problem with society today. Immediately, the Dalai Lama answered, “Too much greed.”

Some anecdotes about His Holiness that I gathered from the film are that the Dalai Lama stresses again and again that he will tolerate no violence whatsoever in his name. How hard this must be for his fellow Tibetans as they are massacred by the Chinese? Gandhi is the Dalai Lama’s personal hero. Again, the theme of non-violence is accented. The Dalai Lama did say that in these times it is much harder to rebel, however, with guns in your face versus what was going on in Gandhi’s time. No matter what, however, the Dalai Lama thinks the world would be a much better place if everyone tried to take the middle way and try to find solutions that benefit both sides mutually.

From my own experience and from this documentary, the thing I remember about the Dalai Lama the most is his infectious laugh and sense of humor and fun.