Venice Film Festival world premiere, Dalai Lama – Scientist, is the first film to look at how the Dalai Lama’s keen interest in modern scientific theory has influenced his Buddhist philosophy over the years. The film examines how scientists like David Bohm, Carl von Weizsacker, and others affected the Dalai Lama’s thinking and vice versa.  

In “The Dalai Lama — Scientist”, the Dalai Lama tells the unknown story, in his own words, of his lifelong journey into the world of science and technology, and how the world has changed as a result. With extensive, rare, and never before seen footage, this film tells the very human story of the Dalai Lama that no one knows.

Director and Writer:
Dawn Gifford Engle

Key Cast:
The Dalai Lama
Laurel Harris – Odd Thomas, Painted Woman
Paul Ekman– Lie to Me
Matthieu Ricard – Journey to Enlightenment

Described as featuring extensive rare and never-before-seen footage, The Dalai Lama – Scientist is billed as “telling the very human story of the Dalai Lama that no one knows.”

n the documentary, His Holiness the Dalai Lama tells his own story in his own words of his lifelong journey from the world of Buddhism into the world of modern science, and how the world has changed as a result. In a statement announcing the film’s world premiere, production company PeaceJam Productions said:

Around the world, one of the most recognized leaders on our planet today is The Dalai Lama. Everyone knows him as a man of peace, a great Buddhist teacher, an advocate for humanity. “The Dalai Lama: Scientist” tells the story of the man you do not know; the Dalai Lama that very few people have seen. For the past thirty-five years, The Dalai Lama has been engaged in an ongoing series of dialogues with leading, world class scientists. They have covered subjects ranging from quantum physics and cosmology to neurobiology and destructive emotions. “The Dalai Lama: Scientist” immerses the viewer into these profound dialogues; explores the correlations between science and Buddhism; and shares personal life experiences from The Dalai Lama that have had a deep impact on his development as a world leader — and also, on the world itself.” (PeaceJam)

Narrated by actress Laurel Harris (Odd Thomas [2013]), the documentary features a number of prominent figures from the worlds of Buddhism and science, among them: psychologist Paul Ekman; mathematician and geneticist Eric Lander; neuroscientist Christof Koch; astrophysicist George Greenstein; biologist, philosopher, and neuroscientist Francisco Varela (1946–2001); professor of psychology and psychiatry Richard J. Davidson; Susan Bauer-Wu, president of the Mind & Life Institute, which serves as a catalyst and community builder for the contemplative sciences; Michael J. Meaney, professor in biological psychiatry, neurology, and neurosurgery; writer and Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard; Zen Buddhist teacher Joan Halifax; and Zen Buddhist and professor emeritus of medicine and founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Jon Kabat-Zinn.

The Dalai Lama has initiated numerous interdisciplinary dialogues with scientists, experts, and spiritual leaders over the decades to discuss the intersection of scientific and spiritual disciplines with regard to critical issues facing contemporary society and the modern world. In an essay penned in 2005, His Holiness stated:

“Although my own interest in science began as the curiosity of a restless young boy growing up in Tibet, gradually the colossal importance of science and technology for understanding the modern world dawned on me. Not only have I sought to grasp specific scientific ideas, but have also attempted to explore the wider implications of the new advances in human knowledge and technological power brought about through science. The specific areas of science I have explored most over the years are subatomic physics, cosmology, biology and psychology. . . . [I am] grateful to the numerous eminent scientists with whom I have had the privilege of engaging in conversations through the auspices of the Mind and Life Institute, which initiated the Mind and Life conferences that began in 1987 at my residence in Dharamsala, India.” (His Holiness the 14th dalai Lama of Tibet)