First Friday, September 7, 7:00 pm
The Last Dalai Lama?
Friends Meeting House, 4312 SE Stark, Room 12, Portland
Doors at 7:00 pm, and film will begin at 7:15. We’ll follow the 80-minute film with a short meditation and a little time for conversation.Tea and sweets will be on hand. By donation; all are welcome.
(Good news: The sound problems experienced in July have been resolved!)
The Last Dalai Lama? is a 2015 documentary montage of stories, memories, interviews, photos, and talks with the 14th Dalai Lama as he began the ninth decade of his life. Created by filmmaker Mickey Lemle, who produced the award-winning Compassion in Exile and Fierce Grace, this new film has received glowing reviews and awards.
What about the film’s title?
The lineage of His Holiness the Dalai Lama – “Ocean of Wisdom” – dates back more than 500 years, but its future is uncertain.
The current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, now 83, escaped Chinese-occupied Tibet in 1959, and still lives in exile after nearly 60 years. Whether or when or where he might reincarnate became an active question in 2015, when His Holiness expressed concern as to the wisdom of taking a future birth.
Relations between the government of China and the people of Tibet continue to be marked by oppression and confiscation of land and property, the destruction of monasteries and schools, and arrests and “disappearances” of monks and lay people. For the past ten years, the Chinese government has financed the immigration of high numbers of Han Chinese into Tibet, in a state-run gentrification / occupation that benefits the gentrifiers and their patrons, while displacing, destabilizing, and devaluing the Tibetan community.
The Chinese secular state sees the population’s devotion to Buddhism and the Dalai Lama as a threat, so rituals, scriptures, and even pictures of the Dalai Lama are strictly forbidden. In 1995, government agents kidnapped the six-year-old boy who had been identified by the Dalai Lama according to tradition as the 11th Panchen Lama, and replaced him with young man who has rarely been to Tibet and was selected by and supports the Chinese government.
More recently, indications have emerged that the atheist, non-Buddhist government may intend on following a similar course upon the eventual death of His Holiness: to remove the whoever is next identified according to Buddhist tradition and instead install a state-selected Dalai Lama.
With those concerns and the future integrity of Buddhism and autonomy of Tibet in mind, the question of whether His Holiness will take incarnation again is deeply significant to Tibetan culture and to millions of Buddhists far, far beyond the remote mountains of Tibet.
The articles below provide perspectives on the complexity of the spiritual and political role that the Dalai Lama plays, both globally and in Tibetan society.
This article presents a rudimentary outline of the history and relevance of the current Dalai Lama:
The 14th Dalai Lama (You can back-search on the site for historical info on all previous Dalai Lamas).
August 9, 2018 New Delhi’s delicate dance over Tibet
March 2015 Will the Dalai Lama reincarnate
November 25, 2014 Dalai Lama leaves the succession question up to the Tibetan-people
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The International Campaign for Tibet and The Tibet Fund are two organizations working on behalf of Tibetan people in Tibet and in exile. In Oregon, the Northwest Tibetan Cultural Association supports the local and regional Tibetan community.
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Questions? Please contact us!