When Rick Ray traveled to India with nothing more than a dream of meeting the Dalai Lama, he found hope in strange places. He calls India a place where things get done “from the ground.” What did this mean for Ray? In the end, it meant finding a kindred spirit who happened to have the Dalai Lama’s email address.
With 10 questions he compiled with help from friends and supporters, the fruition of Ray’s dream to meet His Holiness was captured in his film along with his journey across India. Ray’s humbling quest to find a few simple answers will screen Tuesday, April 7, at 7 p.m. at the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum (2559 Puesta Del Sol Rd.) to compliment His Holiness’s S.B. arrival on April 24. Here are three reasons to check out Ray’s film, 10 Questions for the Dalai Lama.
1) His Holiness Himself: His charm has not been exaggerated. Even when speaking of violent crimes common in the West, the Dalai Lama wears his iconic smile, changed subtly into one of understanding and pity. He believes sentient life may exist on other planets, and that picnics can do a lot to bring peace between people.
2) A New Perspective on Change: “At heart,” Ray says, “he’s really a practical man. He really believes that if our religious doctrine doesn’t match up with scientific investigation, the doctrine should change-not the science.” Not a man to discard his beliefs or hard evidence, the Dalai Lama is all about consolidation. When the Earth was proven not to be the center of the Universe, as it was believed to be for countless generations in Tibet, Ray says the Dalai Lama was the first to suggest a compromise. “We need to change the book, not throw it out.”
3) Humility: No mystic answers to ancient questions can be drawn from the religious leader, who purports to be nothing more than a common man. “He combines Buddhist wisdom with every day truisms,” explains Ray. His answers-much like Ray’s film-are simple, seemingly obvious, and elusively profound.