Have you watched this inspirational film with the late Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama? Most of it was filmed Dharamsala. Given the rise of fascism targeting hatred  of religious minorities in India it could be good to get it better known.


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I find the traditional idea of God difficult.  Buddhism is easier for me to relate to but I respect my friends who have faiths. I love this film because of the tolerance exhibited particularly by the Dalai Lama who partakes in communion with the Tutus ( Desmond and his daughter Mpho)

I have tried writing a poem about them.

Great Souls

They named Gandhi, the Mahatma:

The first of the great souls in my lifetime.

Martin Luther King and Gandhi

Devotees of non -violence taken from us by bullets fuelled with hate.

Mandela and the ‘Arch’ mercifully died in their beds.

All deserve the title, Mahatma.


One remains with us:  the Dalai Lama

No surprise that he and Desmond liked each other

Their warm and infectious personalities exuded humour

Impish together as well as exemplars of love.

The depth of ages disguised by childlike delight.


Keep alive the memory of that irreverent Reverend

Dancing and joking down the aisle

In response to persecution.

Humanity needs his spirit

The courage, the laughter and the tears

Of Desmond Tutu


Desmond‘s  daughter Mpho was co- instrumental in helping organise the film with the Dalai Lama . (Rev)  Charlotte Bannister Parker is a good friend of hers and carried out a religious service of blessing at her same sex wedding. Charlotte and Mpho share some of the qualities of these men – serenity and  courage. I found the comparison of meditation and prayer convincing. I cast Charlotte away on Oxtopia and she kindly compered the launch of Oxford Castaways 3 and Poems in an Exhibition in the Old Library at her church of St Mary the Virgin (Oxford) ( Charlotte is 4th from the right on the back row.)

The ‘Arch’’s recommendation that we try to make a difference where we can, resonates with me.  Some claim that people can’t change. That is untrue. One of the reasons I wanted to write Sculpting the Elephant was to tell the story of Ashoka – a warlord turned pacifist who was instrumental in founding the  Dalai Lama’s religion which we know as Buddhism.

Charlotte created the Faith Walk to bring people of different religions together in love and tolerance. My favourite photo of her with her father, the much missed Roger Bannister.