Saturday, May 5, 2007

Dalai Lama

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama is in Chicago this weekend. His arrival has me thinking about films about the Dalai Lama and Buddhism.

This year a documentary narrated by Harrison Ford called the Dalai Lama Renaissance will be released. It is about the Dalai Lama meeting with western thinkers such as quantum physicists Fred Alan Wolf and Amit Goswami (from the documentaries What the Bleep Do We Know and The Secret), social scientist Jean Houston, and founder of Agape International Spiritual Center church in Los Angeles, Dr. Michael Beckwith.

My favorite film about the Dalai Lama is Martin Scorsese’s Kundun. The film begins with the search for the 14th incarnation of the Dalai Lama. It follows him through adulthood and his troubles with Mao and China. A beautiful and moving film, coincidently, written by Melissa Mathison, Harrison Ford’s ex-wife.

Seven Years in Tibet is an overlooked film, I think. Perhaps it is because audiences couldn’t wrap their heads around Brad Pitt and Buddhism in the same film. It is based on the true story of Heinrich Harrer, an Austrian mountain climber who became friends with the Dalai Lama at the time of China's takeover of Tibet.

Because I am a dumb sophomoric guy who loves playing golf, when I think of the Dalai Lama in film, I think of Caddyshack and Bill Murray’s story about caddying for “the Lama.”

So I jump ship in Hong Kong and make my way over to Tibet, and I get on as a looper at a course over in the Himalayas. A looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock. So, I tell them I'm a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald... striking. So, I'm on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one - big hitter, the Lama - long, into a ten-thousand foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga... gunga, gunga-galunga. So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

"So I got that goin' for me, which is nice."

PeterH

6 comments:

Zep said...

I'm really interested in religion. But I never could understand the popularity of lamaism - it's the most complicated and least understandable form of buddhism for non-buddhists. The secret seems to be the personality of the Dalai Lama. I read two of his books and it is simply NOT my train of faith...

Bobby Revell said...

Yes, on your deathbed; if you are lucky enough to have one!

Wonder Woman said...

I've had some interesting experiences with Buddhism. Unfortunately no experiences with the Dalai Lama. I have great respect for the Dalai Lama though, he invokes peace.
I just had the pleasure of watching Caddy Shack for the first time. Bill Murray is classic. Definitely a comedy for my favorites list.

Adria said...

He was in my area this week. I wish I could have heard him speak. But, cramming for finals time.

I'm enjoying your blog. Thank you.

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