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Only silence is great


Buñuel and the Dalaï Lama
Jean-Claude Carrière Film-maker
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Le Dalaï Lama est beaucoup plus proche de Buñuel qu’on ne pourrait le penser. En ce sens où Dalaï Lama est athée, bien entendu, comme tous les bouddhistes. Ils ne croient pas à un dieu, ou en plusieurs dieux. Et ce Dalaï Lama, en particulier, aura beaucoup fait dans sa vie par l’exemple qu’il a donné, et par les enseignements qu’il a donné, pour débarrasser le bouddhisme d’un certain nombre des superstitions qu’il lui reste, de démons, de déesses etc.  Il a fait beaucoup pour ramener le bouddhisme à ce qu’il est depuis l’origine, c’est à dire un humanisme… La phrase essentielle du Bouddha est: «Attends tout de toi-même». N’attends pas quelque chose de quelque autre force qui serait en dehors de toi. Alors ça c’est un point qu’ils ont en commun, l’autre point: le goût du rire. Alors ça, le Dalaï Lama adore rire et Buñuel disait qu’une journée ou on n’a pas vraiment ri est une journée perdue. Donc peut-être si on les avait mis ensemble ce qui est maintenant difficile, peut-être se seraient-ils très bien entendu. Pas entendu au sens propre du mot puisque Buñuel était sourd et il aurait fallu lui traduire tout ce que disait l’autre. Mais le Dalaï Lama, il est très difficile de ne pas s’entendre avec lui dans la mesure où… il n’impose rien, aucun dogme, aucune… le bouddhisme se dit ennemi de toutes les croyances même si… certaines parties du bouddhisme comme la réincarnation peuvent nous paraître, à nous, comme des tendances, comme des croyances.

The Dalaï Lama is closer to Buñuel than we could think at first. The Dalaï Lama is an atheist of course, like every Buddhist. They do not believe in God, or in gods. And this one in particular has done a lot in his life, by setting an example, by his teachings, to help Buddhism get rid of its superstitions, such as devils and goddesses. He has done a lot to restore Buddhism to what it was originally, to be some kind of humanism... the main saying of the Buddha is, 'Expect everything from yourself'. Do not expect anything from outside of yourself. So that is one thing they have in common. The other is their shared taste for laughing. The Dalaï Lama loves laughing, and Buñuel kept repeating that a day without laughing is a wasted day. So maybe if you had got them together in the same room, which is now difficult to do, maybe they would have understood each other very well.  Not in the proper sense obviously, Buñuel being deaf, and he would have needed someone to translate everything the other said. But the Dalaï Lama... it is difficult to not get along with him, given he... he does not impose anything, no dogma, no... Buddhism presents itself as the enemy of any belief, even if some parts of Buddhism appear to us as belief, such as reincarnation.


French screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière (1931-2021) began his association with films aged 24 when he was selected by Jacques Tati to write for him. This early experience led to further contact with other film-makers, including Luis Buñuel with whom Carrière collaborated for many years. He wrote screenplays for films including Belle de Jour, The Discreet Charms of the Bourgeoisie, Tin Drum and Danton.

Listeners: Andrzej Wolski

Film director and documentary maker, Andrzej Wolski has made around 40 films since 1982 for French television, the BBC, TVP and other TV networks. He specializes in portraits and in historical films. Films that he has directed or written the screenplay for include Kultura, which he co-directed with Agnieszka Holland, and KOR which presents the history of the Worker’s Defence Committee as told by its members. Andrzej Wolski has received many awards for his work, including the UNESCO Grand Prix at the Festival du Film d’Art.

Tags: Luis Buñuel, Dalaï Lama

Duration: 1 minute, 50 seconds

Date story recorded: January 2010

Date story went live: 27 July 2010