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10 Questions for the Dalai Lama
10 Questions for the Dalai Lama
Actors: The Dalai Lama, Rick Ray
Genres: Special Interests, Documentary
UR     2007     1hr 25min

How do you reconcile a commitment to non-violence when faced with violence? Why do the poor often seem happier than the rich? Must a society lose its traditions in order to move into the future? These are some of the qu...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: The Dalai Lama, Rick Ray
Genres: Special Interests, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Documentary
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 10/23/2007
Original Release Date: 05/01/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 05/01/2006
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 25min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Sitting on Top of the World
Junglies | Morrisville, NC United States | 10/20/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is a very gentle documentary film of the most famous monk in the world, his humble origins and his joint role as spiritual and political leader of Tibetans.

It's combination of background and insertion of clips to illustrate points during the actual interview with his holiness enhances what would be to most people a relatively staid movie. What results is an interesting story of a man who insists that he is but a man despite everything which his many follwers wish upon him. He is his own person, someone who wishes his own privacy despite the pressure upon him to be a purely public figure.

The documentary also deals with real political difficulties, addressing the issue of China and accusing the Chinese government in all but name of the kidnap of the Panchen Lama, yet managing to maintain some degree of impartiality so that it avoids the charge of being mere propaganda.

We learn much too, of the filmmaker and his observations, especially where he notes that it is those with least who display outward signs of happiness while those who have the most are the least happy.

Overall this is well worth watching especially to gain some insight into the mind of one of the most influential men of the 20th Century. After having watched this film today, I was reminded of the famous remark of Stalin who is reported to have asked: "How many legions has the Pope?".
Perhaps China's current rulers would be advised to ask the same question about the Dalai Lama.

Answers and More
Ms. Silver | 01/07/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I do not as a rule buy DVD's. I rent them. I was shattering my behavior pattern when I bought 10 Questions for the Dalai Lama. Perhaps I might want to view this one more than once or share it.

It is not the answers to the 10 questions that makes this DVD a "keeper". Rather, it is Rick Ray's lively, sometimes colorful, sometimes starkly black-and-white, introduction to the history of the Dalai Lamas, the culture of Tibetan Buddhism and the politics and geography of Tibet, that holds the viewer's attention long before we are introduced to the current Dalai Lama.

The questions that remain for the viewer at the end of the film are as intriguing as the answers we hear. How does one balance nationalism and belief in one's wisdom tradition against love of all humanity and openness to new knowledge? The Dalai Lama provides his view but tempers that with his offering of himself as a limited human, rather than an all-knowing deity.

This viewer found the current Dalai Lama to be a quite lovable human. Others are invited to meet with him for a while in Rick Ray's film."
An absolute "must-see" for practitioners of Buddhism
Midwest Book Review | Oregon, WI USA | 12/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"10 Questions for the Dalai Lama is an award-winning documentary DVD of ten soul-searching questions posed to His Holiness the Dalai Lama by filmmaker and explorer Rick Ray. Among the profound questions asked are "Why do the poor often seem happier than the rich?", "Must a society lose its traditions in order to move into the future?", and "How do you reconcile a commitment to non-violence when faced with violence?" Bonus features include an interview with the director, additional selected scenes, and an interview with Tenzin Geyche Tethong. An absolute "must-see" for practitioners of Buddhism, worthy of the highest recommendation for its thoughtful examination of both earthly and transcendental issues. 85 minutes, closed-captioned, color."
Amateurish & self-absorbed
taikoman | 12/01/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)

"Travel "filmmaker" Rick Ray didn't seem to do the most basic kind of research about Buddhism or the Dalai Lama despite having had at least 3 full months to prepare. Due to his background as a travel filmmaker, perhaps he is used to oversimplifying complex subjects for easy digestion by a distraction-seeking audience. But when you are granted an audience with an extremely busy world figure and religious leader, you really should prepare properly. Shame on you, Rick Ray.

The resulting film is dull and superficial in the extreme, overflowing with random footage of people staring into the camera while the narrator drones on and on with his ill-informed hypothesizing about the human condition, full of platitudes about happy poor people and tales of feeling "close to heaven" inside a monastery.

And his 10 questions? Incredibly vague & simple minded stuff like "why do poor people seem to be happier than rich people?" and "how important is it to preserve tradition?" When speaking about Middle East tensions, the Dalai Lama says there is too much anger, hatred & negativity and that these high emotions need to first be "cooled down" before more constructive action can be taken on the serious issues facing them. He suggests (half jokingly) that festivals & picnics would be a good way of achieving this *first* step. The narration immediately proclaims: "so festivals were the answer to peace in the middle east". I cannot describe my utter disbelief when I heard that. I wanted to yell at my screen "THAT'S NOT WHAT HE SAID AT ALL!!" Not only has he done no research, but he apparently didn't pay any attention to the interview itself - either at the time or while editing.

Time and again, he seemed intent on squeezing the Dalai Lama into a preconceived box he's made for him. At one point, Rick Ray drones: "it might come as a surprise to learn that although he PROSCRIBES festivals as the answer for peace around the world, he personally dislikes them, especially when they're in his honor." In addition to repeating his obvious misinterpretation about festivals, no one who knows anything about the Dalai Lama would have been surprised by that - it's perfectly in line with his humility as someone who routinely describes himself as an ordinary person from a small town. As I continued watching the film, I got the distinct impression that Rick Ray was treating his subject almost as an idiot savant, wasting his time with ridiculously simple questions and offering to re-interpret the answers for the audience (and totally misinterpret it in the process).

To add to all this, the filmmaker has inserted himself into this film far too much. For example, he worries out loud about not wasting the precious 45 minutes he's been allowed for the interview and that if the Dalai Lama were to cut it short (because he's been known to do that if he senses you're a disingenuous fool), it would be the most humiliating experience of his life. I say "who cares?" He should have just spent his time PREPARING for the interview instead of narcissistically recording HIMSELF worrying about it out loud. This is not a documentary but an ill-informed, self-absorbed, not at all ready for prime time, grade school-level personal diary that should have been uploaded directly to YouTube. At best."