Santa Cruz Sentinel Interview

Dalai Lama’s Spirituality Caught on Film
Santa Cruz Sentinel, Thursday, June 6, 2002

When asked what he does with his free time, the Dalai Lama answered, “Sleep is my free time.”

Last year in May, the tireless advocate for peace and compassion visited the Shoreline Amphitheater to share Tibetan Buddhist teachings and contemporary insights on nourishing peace within ourselves and in the wider world.

His presence and teachings were captured on videotape by Santa Cruz producer Marigold Fine, who will present that video Monday night at Bookshop Santa Cruz.

Attending that event will be the Venerable Sarah Tenzin Yiwong, the resident teacher at Land of Medicine Buddha in Soquel.

Fine took time to talk to us about the privilege and power of editing footage of the Dalai Lama before and after Sept. 11.

What led you to make this video?
Marigold Fine: I was hired by the Land of the Medicine Buddha. I was thrilled because this kind of project is right up my alley in terms of my interests and affinities. To work with footage of the Dalai Lama is an honor.

What are your affinities and interests?
Fine: Basically, my interests are life-affirming media in the spiritual, healing, artistic and social-justice realms. I see the work as an opportunity to help humanity evolve.

What other kinds of videos have you made?
Fine: I’ve made a couple of personal documentaries. One is about mothers and daughters and is called “The Tie That Bonds.” Before that I made another called “On the Wild Side: Meetings with Remarkable Women.”

How did making this video affect your life?
Fine: I began the work on Sept. 5. The first part of the project was editing almost 12 hours of the Dalai Lama’s Heart of Wisdom Sutra teaching that he presented at Shoreline. I was creating a set of six VHS tapes. They’re mainly for the serious Buddhist scholars. When Sept. 11 happened, that work was awaiting me in my editing studio. It was such a sanctuary to have this daily meeting with a great teacher. To be able to focus on that every day was such a gift to me.
In November, I began work on the highlights video, which is what I’ll be showing at Bookshop Santa Cruz.
It distills all four days of his presentations: the Heart of Wisdom Sutra, a public talk called “Peace Through Inner Peace” and a ritual called the Medicine Buddha Empowerment.

What were the challenges you faced?
Fine: With the highlights video, it was just the awesome responsibility of choosing what clips I would use.
He talked on a number of subjects: disarmament, Tibet, anger and how to live a meaningful life. It was a challenge to choose what little nuggets I think the world needs to hear right now.

How did you decide what to keep and what to cut?
Fine: Mostly my decisions were based on the world situation. We were at war and dropping bombs on Afghanistan. I felt like his phrase that peace begins with inner disarmament spoke a lot to making the world a safer place. Anything I could find that would help bring more peace into the world and individual consciousness was what I was going for.

What are you working on now?
Fine: I’m working on a documentary about sand-play therapy and the woman who developed it, Dora Kalff. She died in 1990 and was a contemporary and friend of Carl Jung. I’m collaborating with a local sand-play therapist.

What do you like the best about your job?
Fine: It’s wonderful work. I’ve had the opportunity to work with such diverse scenarios and situations. It’s a very human glimpse into how people live their lives.

By NANCY REDWINE, Sentinel Staff Writer