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Environmental Prof Kaza in New Dalai Lama Film

By Thomas Weaver Article published September 23, 2008

At the cusp of the new Millennium, a delegation of some of the world's most innovative thinkers traveled to India to meet with the Dalai Lama at his residence in the foothills of the Himalayas. Stephanie Kaza, professor in the Environmental Program and a scholar of Buddhist environmental thought, was among the group that endeavored to bring a synthesis of diverse disciplines to address the world's most critical problems.

Their starting point was a five-day series of discussions with the Dalai Lama, a process that is documented in the new film Dalai Lama Renaissance, narrated by Harrison Ford. A selection at 40 international film festivals, the film has garnered a dozen awards and is entered in this year's Academy Awards competition in the Best Feature Documentary Film category. Dalai Lama Renaissance is playing at the Palace 9 Theater in South Burlington through Thursday, Sept. 25.

Kaza, who has a small speaking part in the film, acknowledges that though the group struggled to generate momentum and build concrete proposals — realities captured by the filmmakers — she still drew a great deal from the experience. “The strongest impressions for me came from listening to his Holiness in his own setting of Dharamsala, and spending so much time in the stunning Tibetan Buddhist temple at Norbulingka Institute for the Preservation of Tibetan Culture,” she says. “As a practicing (Zen) Buddhist, I was profoundly moved to be holding these conversations in such a beautiful and sacred temple.”

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