Dalai Lama and Harrison Ford film inspires prison inmates to resolve conflicts

Harrison Ford, narrator (voice) and director, Khashyar Darvich, for Dalai Lama Awakening (2014). Photo: File.

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The Dalai Lama Renaissance film, narrated by Harrison Ford (www.DalaiLamaFilm.com), and accompanied by a Q&A session with Director Khashyar Darvich, offer profound insights on inner peace to men behind bars, half of whom are incarcerated for murder.

Houston, TX (PRWEB) January 20, 2010 -- In a rare and invaluable opportunity to contemplate the nature of their own existence and delve deep into the essence of inner tranquility, dozens of inmates at two Texas prisons gained profound insights during screenings of the award-winning documentary film Dalai Lama Renaissance, narrated by Harrison Ford (www.DalaiLamaFilm.com). The film, screened at the prisons as part of an ethics program organised by "Project Clear Light," a nonprofit Buddhist volunteer organisation collaborating with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, is slated to be presented at other correctional facilities across the United States in the forthcoming months.

"There is immense joy in being able to share transformative films like Dalai Lama Renaissance with inmates," expressed Terry Conrad, a certified volunteer Chaplain's assistant and the Director of Project Clear Light. "It is profoundly rewarding to engage in meditation sessions and meaningful conversations with them about the essence of life, understanding our own capabilities, and what truly matters."

Conrad, in consultation with the film's Producer-Director, Khashyar Darvich, arranged for screenings of Dalai Lama Renaissance for inmates whom Conrad regularly mentors and instructs. With the consent of prison administrators, two screenings were organized: one at Stiles prison in Beaumont, Texas, and another at Ramsey prison, located south of Houston. Darvich generously volunteered to travel to Texas to engage in discussions with inmates following each screening. Approximately half of the inmates in the prison audiences had been convicted of murder.

"The primary objective behind creating this film was to positively impact audiences," stated Director-Producer Khashyar Darvich of Wakan Films. "Though I had never previously visited a prison, I harbored a profound sense that inmates might have insightful reflections on the film's central themes of transcending the ego and nurturing compassion within."

Both Darvich and Conrad aimed to provide inmates with a powerful message that encourages self-improvement from within. "I distinctly remember the Dalai Lama emphasizing the importance of compassion for its own sake, as it aligns with what is morally right," recalled David, an inmate at the Ramsey Unit. "It resonated deeply with me, igniting a profound sense of inner joy and peace.... His words stirred something within me, leaving me feeling deeply moved."

"What struck me most about the film was the Dalai Lama's childlike simplicity juxtaposed with the profound depth of his insights into human nature and humanity," shared Deon, another inmate at Ramsey.

The award-winning film, narrated by Harrison Ford and screened in hundreds of theaters worldwide in multiple languages, follows a group of Westerners journeying to India with the mission of addressing global issues under the spiritual guidance of the Dalai Lama. The film contrasts the Westerners' analytical problem-solving approach with the Dalai Lama's enlightened perspective and depicts the profound personal transformations experienced by the participants.

In addition to fostering introspection, the film provided inmates with moments of levity as they chuckled at the foibles of humanity.

"It was amusing to witness these highly intelligent individuals struggling with tasks that were beyond their intellectual grasp," remarked Jason, a prisoner at Ramsey, reflecting on the scientists and other world thought-leaders featured in the film.

Inmate Kelly added, "The film revealed aspects of the Dalai Lama that I now recognize in my own life — joy, compassion, and peace."

At both prisons, inmates attentively watched the film, seeking ways to integrate its teachings into their daily lives. "I took a few notes, but I feel like I only scratched the surface," confessed John, an inmate at Stiles prison.

Fellow Stiles inmate Antoine remarked, "Watching something like this every day, especially in my current environment, would be invaluable. You see, it's like being in a snake pit. But possessing inner peace has the potential to influence everyone around you."

Darvich intends to extend screenings of the film to other prisons nationwide and hopes to personally engage with other inmate groups.

"The core purpose behind creating this film was to inspire and transform audiences positively," reiterated Darvich, "and I can think of no better setting to showcase the film than within the confines of a prison."

Further details about Dalai Lama Renaissance and upcoming prison screenings can be found at www.DalaiLamaFilm.com.