Directed by Dawn Gifford Engle / Reviewed by Riya Saha
The Dalai Lama, Scientist directed by Dawn Engle, is a documentary featuring Dalai Lama, his unpublished archive documents, his interest in science since his childhood Scientist. The film was first premiered in Venice during the Cinema Festival, addresses a little-known aspect of the Dalai Lama.
The Dalai Lama is the head monk of Tibetan Buddhism and traditionally has been responsible for the governing of Tibet until the Chinese government took control in 1959. Before 1959, his official residence was Potala Palace in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. The Dalai Lama belongs to the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, which is the largest and most influential tradition in Tibet.
The institution of the Dalai Lama is a relatively recent one. There have been only 14 Dalai Lamas in the history of Buddhism, and the first and second Dalai Lamas were given the title posthumously. According to Buddhist belief, the current Dalai Lama is a reincarnation of a past lama who decided to be reborn again to continue his important work, instead of moving on from the wheel of life. A person who decides to be continually reborn is known as a tulku. The name Dalai Lama, means the Ocean of Wisdom.
Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama
Tenzin Gyatso is the fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibetan Buddhism. He was born in 1935 and recognized as the reincarnation of Thubten Gyatso at a young age.
How Dawn Gifford Engle foretells the story of The Dalai Lama?
In “The Dalai Lama — Scientist”, the Dalai Lama tells the unknown story. In the documentary you can experience his lifelong journey into the world of science and technology, and how the world has changed in his own words. The documentary features extensive, rare, and never before seen footages of how he shaped the world. This film tells the very human story of the Dalai Lama that no one knows.
We will also see him in a debate with scientists – Paul Ekman, psychology, Richard Davidson, neuroscience, Francisco Varela, Nobel Prize winner Steven Chu and specialists in quantum physics – at the meetings in Dharamsala and Mind and Life Institute, where he analyzes the field of possibilities between Buddhist and Western sciences.
These extraordinary exchanges led to the creation of new practices at the crossroads between the Buddhist ancestral knowledge and cutting-edge scientific research. It also includes the introduction of the notion of empathy in the medical field of neuroscience.
Dawn Engle and her husband Ivan Suvanjieff, are the producer of the movie and Nobel Legacy Film Series, founded PeaceJam, an organization that brings together young people with innovative projects to 14 Nobel Prize winners, including Rigoberta Manchu, Desmond Tutu, and the Dalai Lama, one of the first founding members.
The one-year program runs in 40 countries and develops projects for peace related to the specificity of each Nobel Prize, dealing with racism, women’s rights, but also with empathy, compassion and climate change with the Dalai Lama.
“For more than thirty years, I have spent time with Western scientists,” says the Dalai Lama. “In thinking about it, I sometimes think that I am half a Buddhist monk and the other half a scientist.” We discover in The Dalai Lama, Scientist the extraordinary initiatives launched by the Dalai Lama, a rare interlocutor between Eastern and Western knowledge.
The 1 hour and 35 minutes long film has power-packed information. A Peacejam Productions, written and directed by Dawn Engle and produced by Ivan Suvanjieff, is a part of
Nobel Laureate’s Legacy series of Peacejam Foundation, established in 1996.
In short, the film is a bold and incisive attempt at documenting the contribution from His Holiness the Dalai Lama – a simple Buddhist monk – to Science. This legacy is unparalleled and exceptional.
The Dalai Lama, Scientist directed by Dawn Gifford Engle is a treat to the eyes.