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The Dalai Lama: God, Celebrity, Terrorist, and “No one Special”

Date: 3/22/2012

The Dalai Lama: God, Celebrity, Terrorist, and “No one Special” 

— By Carly Glasmyre

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet, is a mystery to most people, both Eastern and Western. He is viewed as a God to Tibetans, a celebrity to westerners, a terrorist to Chinese, and a simple monk to himself. Before each of his talks, he tells audiences, “I am no one special.” 

Rick Ray, director, writer, producer, and star of the documentary 10 Questions for the Dalai Lama, came to Alvernia University to unveil the mystery of the Dalai Lama. More than 100 students and community members filled the Bernardine Lecture Hall to attend the Campus Activities Board (CAB) sponsored event. 

Ray was ecstatic when he was given the opportunity to meet the Dalai Lama while making a film about India. “The Dalai Lama is my hero,” he said. Ray squeezed himself into His Holiness’s busy schedule to secure an hour interview. The Dalai Lama’s secretary told him to bring ten questions. 

Choosing only 10 questions to ask one of the greatest spiritual leaders of the world was a great challenge and a great honor, says Ray. “I emailed everyone I knew for their input.” He finally found — and got approved — ten questions, ranging from nonviolence to religious tolerance to the Internet. 

At Alvernia, Ray showed clips of his conversation with the Dalai Lama, holding both students and community members spellbound. In-between clips, Ray emphasized the Dalai Lama’s wonderful sense of humor, his wisdom, and his compassion. 

However, the Dalai Lama wasn’t the only one that interested the audience. Freshman Amee Patel admired Rick Ray as a world traveler. “It’s such an inspiration to see what the world is actually like through the eyes of someone who really traveled and experienced different cultures, politics and religions,” she explained. 

After answering questions, Ray left the audience with the advice the Dalai Lama gave him after their interview: “Always tell the truth, and every time you leave a room, turn the light off. Save the planet!” 

>> View the movie trailer for Rick Ray's "10 Questions for the Dalai Lama" 

  • History: Established as a private four-year liberal arts college in 1958, Alvernia celebrated its 50th year by being awarded university status in 2008.
  • Heritage: Founded by the Bernardine Sisters, a Catholic religious order, the university embraces the Franciscan core values of service, humility, collegiality, contemplation and peacemaking.
  • Motto: “To Learn, To Love, To Serve”
  • Campus: The main campus in Reading is 121 acres, with two satellite campuses in Philadelphia and Pottsville (Schuylkill County).
  • Location: Our residential campus is situated three miles from center-city Reading, in the scenic Blue Mountain area of Eastern Pennsylvania.
  • Enrollment: 3,000 students attend Alvernia including 1,500 traditional undergraduates, 600 continuing education students, and 780 graduate students. Over 77% of first-year students live on campus.
  • Faculty: Our professors are accomplished scholars, experts in their fields, and supportive mentors. The student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1. Most classes are 20 students or fewer.
  • Athletics: NCAA Division III, member of the Commonwealth Conference of the Middle Atlantic States Athletic Corporation and member of Eastern College Athletic Conference, 8 men’s and 10 women’s intercollegiate sports.