In the name of buddha

The 14. Dalai Lama

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for trying to find a diplomatic solution despite 50 years of oppression of his people by the Chinese. In the 2000. Theme evening Arte takes on his life.

In 1991, Hans Robert Eisenhauer in Strabburg at Arte had the task to put a whole TV evening of 3 1/2 hours under one topic – and that also up to three times a week. Completely crazy in the age of the MTV generation, where films that show the same shot for more than half a second were considered old-fashioned, dull and boring, and where three hours might be allowed for "The Lord of the Rings," but not for documentaries?

But today 2000 such theme evenings have passed, which are now considered as a distinctive mark of Arte. Schehezerade once held out only 1001 Nights. On Sundays there are family themes with feature film, on Tuesdays politics and on Fridays culture. On the occasion of the anniversary, the channel dedicates itself to the Dalai Lama, who was also a personal guest in the Strabburg studio in 1994 and who will appear in a few days on the 6. July 70 years old becomes. Since he had to flee from Tibet when the Chinese invaded at the age of 24, he has never set foot in his home behind the highest mountains of the world in the Himalayas. His life is dedicated to the peaceful struggle against the oppression of his people and the survival of Tibetan culture.


The feature film "Kundun" At the beginning of the evening, the film takes viewers into the legendary world of faraway Tibet before the Chinese invasion and uses spectacular images to describe his childhood and years of apprenticeship before fleeing to India. In 1937, Tenzin Gyatso – just two years old – from the small village of Taksa in eastern Tibet is recognized as the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. Two years later, the boy is taken to the capital Lhasa, where he is prepared for his future task by the country’s highest scholars in the Potala, far away from his family.

Already at the age of 15, the Dalai Lama, as the spiritual and political head of Tibet, was confronted with the Chinese invasion, which finally led him to his risky escape into exile in India in 1959. Kundun means "the presence of Buddha", the 14. Dalai Lama also in exile for his people verkorpert.

With "Kundun" has Martin Scorsese ("Cab Driver", "Casino") a work in the tradition of crude films like "The last emperor" and "Ghandhi" created.

What interested me about the story was how a young man living in a society based entirely on the spiritual finds himself confronted by a society most averse to the spiritual – the Maoist government of communist China. How does a person of nonviolence deal with these people?

Martin Scorcese in "Kinowelt"

The actors in "Kundun" are Tibetans living in India, Canada and the USA. They were either born in exile or lived in exile for most of their lives. None of them is a full-time actor, but some of them belong to the director Martin Scorsese "Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts" to. For the duration of four months they fall in love with their work, their studies or their monasteries. They considered it an honor to be included in a film about His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Some of them are members of the Dalai Lama’s extended family or are in contact with his immediate entourage. Certainly, they play a part of their personal history, which gives the film a special emotional depth.

In the name of buddha

director Martin Scorsese with the film team of "Kundun"

The young Dalai Lama is portrayed in his various ages by four young Tibetans. Philip Glass is responsible for the musical background of the film. His performance earned him a Golden Globe nomination in 1998 in the category of best film score. The colorful images of "Kundun" were photographed by Roger Deakins, who is known for his cinematography on "Fargo" was nominated for an Oscar. The costumes and set were designed by Dante Ferretti, who has already been nominated for several Oscars (among others for "Interview with a Vampire" and "The time of innocence"). The screenplay was written by Melissa Mathison, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her script "E.T. – The Auberird" received an Oscar nomination. Thelma Shoonmaker has been "Raging Bull", for which she won the coveted Academy Award, all the films edited by Martin Scorsese, who also used her for "Kundun" hired."

A Life for Tibet

On 10. December 1989, the Dalai Lama received the Nobel Peace Prize from Egil Aarvik, chairman of the Nobel Committee from 1982 to 1989, also the anniversary of the United Nations Convention on Human Rights. The Documentation "A life for Tibet" tells at the same time the recent history of Tibet and reviews three quarters of a century of world history. The Dalai Lama, revered as God King, talks about his life, his faith and his visions.

Since China occupied Tibet and its capital Lhasa, "Little Lhasa", Dharamsala in India, has been growing steadily.000 Lhasa residents already live here. Until 1959, Dharamsala was only a summer resort for the English, who had become too comfortable in Delhi, but in March 1959 the Chinese, who had invaded in 1950, expelled the head of the Tibetans as a peaceful ruler from the roof of the world, and the refugees arrived. Today, 50 years later, Tibetan refugees are still leaving China as one of the 55 minorities. 140.000 Tibetans are now spread all over the world.

There is no room for Soviet-style perestroika – Beijing is not Moscow

The young Dalai Lama learns about Europe and weapons of war from books, is initially fascinated by the technology, until he learns about the dead of the Second World War. The mountaineer Heinrich Harrer, who finds himself there during the turmoil of war, later turns it into the film "Seven Years in Tibet". Only through this the Dalai Lama learned more about Europe.

Beside Heinrich Harrer and the actor Richard Gere also the younger brother of the Dalai Lama is interviewed. The portrait also takes into account the current developments in Tibet and China in the light of the 2008 Olympics. Is the Beijing Olympics a chance for Tibet??

Wheel of Time

Tibet has always captured the imagination of adventurers, explorers and filmmakers. And the documentary "Wheel of Time" by Werner Herzog shows the deep piety of the Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world, who spare no effort in order to reach the "Ritual for World Peace", Kalachakra, in the breathtakingly beautiful and at the same time barren Indian Himalayan region.

About 2.500 years ago, the king’s son Siddhartha Gautama left his home at the foothills of the Himalayas and began his search for truth. After years of wandering he arrived in the lowlands of the Ganges, near the village of Bodh Gaya. He rested under a tree and found enlightenment. Since then he has been "Buddha", the enlightened, known.

The Maha Bodhi temple marks the place where Buddha stayed. For the world of Buddhism this is sacred land. Pilgrims from all over the world come here. In 2002 there are half a million. Kalachakra initiation includes teachings in Buddhist doctrine, prayers, philosophical debates and initiation ("Inauguration") under the chairmanship of the Dalai Lama.

In the name of buddha

The central ritual is the making of the sand mandala that is "Wheel of Time". A metal rod filled with sand is rubbed and through the small opening releases a dark, controllable jet of sand with which the fine lines of the intricate work can be painted. The Monche will work on the artwork for several days. They hope that their leader, the Dalai Lama, will recover and be able to carry out the initiation.

The finished sand mandala is protected behind Plexiglas panes. The faithful marvel at and worship this beautiful image of an inner landscape in passing. They are deeply concerned when the Dalai Lama tells them he will not be able to hold the ceremonies. They will stay awake this night and pray for his health.

The Austrian Buddhist community has also invited the Dalai Lama to Graz to hold the Kalachakra initiation there. This time His Holiness is healthy and presides over the many rituals. During the initiation, the devotees are introduced to the sacred inner landscape depicted on the sand mandala. You reach a higher level of consciousness in deep meditation.

In the name of buddha

The Dalai Lama

The sand mandala is destroyed by the Dalai Lama with a wave of his hand. It is progressive. The sand and with it the pure world of Kalachakra is given to the river as an offering for world peace. What remains is the inner landscape that the consciousness drew during initiation.

Without proselytizing, Werner Herzog has succeeded in capturing in colorful images the spirituality and the lives of the Buddhist believers in Bodh Gaya, on Mount Kailash and in Graz. The film was made with the collaboration of the 14. Dalai Lama and in cooperation with the Society for the Promotion of Buddhist Values. The director has partly filmed himself with a small digital camera in order to circumvent the prohibition of filming by the Chinese authorities in Tibet.

Arte TV Theme Evening "In the Name of Buddha – The 14. Dalai Lama, Sunday 3. July 2005

Kundun, Feature film by Martin Scorcese, USA/Great Britain 1997, 133 min., 20.45 o’clock

A life for Tibet, Documentary by Albert Knechtel, France / Finland / Germany 2005, 90 min., First broadcast 23.00 o’clock

Wheel of Time, Documentary by Werner Herzog, Germany / USA / Austria / France 2003, 81 min., First broadcast 00.30 o’clock

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