Cert U Stars 4

Science and faith enjoy an unlikely love-in as this documentary about the Buddhist leader combines animation, interviews, and previously unseen archive footage, while revealing him to be a far-sighted and astute political operator on the world stage.

Exiled since 1959 when the Chinese army occupied his country the political and spiritual leader of Tibet took refuge in India, he cuts an attentive, polite, wily, charming and quite jolly figure.

A syrupy narration explains how his childhood interest in science has been the driving force for meetings with leading Nobel prize-winning scientists, and loose comparisons are drawn between buddhist beliefs and scientific such as quantum physics, cognitive science, and neuroscience.

I began watching with skepticism and ended in awe at the 85 year old, as his decades long strategy of Buddhist and Western scientific co-operation is now bearing fruit as he uses research projects to build bridges to the Chinese scientific community, a clear gateway to pressuring the Beijing authorities to re-examine their policies regarding Tibet.