About the film

Ethics – Identity – Subtle Consciousness – Compassion

The early dialogues between neuroscientist and philosopher Francisco Varela and H.H. the Dalai Lama set the standard for the high level of today’s «Mind & Life» dialogues. Topics were discussed that even today are controversial, including «healing emotions», «altruism, ethics, compassion». We chose the excerpts most important and relevant for today and a highly topical film has resulted from this historical video material.

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How it all started

When at an international conference in 1984 the Dalai Lama first time met with Chilean neurobiologist and philosopher Francisco Varela, nobody would have thought that these intense dicussions during the breaks would eventually lead to the «Mind & Life Dialogues» with over 30 multi-day conferences in India, the USA and Europe and that so many fruitful and healing impulses for the whole of humanity would issue from them. (Mind & Life Institute / Mind & Life Europe)

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Because this film include only the phases of editing and finishing as all the video material already existed, no application for public funding was possible. I had to rely entirely on private funding. The funds I have received so far have enabled me to edit the archive material into a full-length film. I am now seeking the last funds for the finishing of the film, for translations into other languages, subtitling, upgrading the archive videos for cinemas and at festivals, the production of a DVD, as well as for preparing the film for VoD (video on demand). The 68,000 EUROS are urgently needed to make the film available to the public.


«Franz Reichle’s rendering of the birth of the Mind and Life Institute is the result of meticulous research – but it is much more than a historical documentary: it is a sharply intelligent and at the same time poetically tender evocation of a unique human undertaking, that of the integration of science and deep spirituality.»

Amy Cohen Varela, President of Mind and Life Europe

«A long-time friend of MLE, Franz Reichle, has started work on a feature length film tracing the history and development of Mind and Life from its inception. The film will be a tremendous asset for Mind and Life and will surely attract the interest of a broad public. We look forward to completion of this important historical document in 2016, and are grateful for the dedication and care that Franz brings to this project.»

Activities Report 2015 of Mind and Life Europe

About me

I lived and worked for many years in Eastern Siberia on Lake Baikal where I made the film «Traumzeit» (Dreamtime) about the demise of a shamanistic tribe. There I met the Tibetan doctor Chimit Dorji Dugarov whose «miracle healings» inspired me to make a film about Tibetan medicine, «The Knowledge of Healing». My research led me to Dharamsala in northern India. There lay all that could be saved from Chinese destruction out of Tibet.

My first encounter with the Dalai Lama in the spring of 1994 in Dharamsala showed His enormous commitment for a better world with happier people, which He tirelessly pursues until today. This is also evident in the interviews I had with Him for my subsequent project «Monte Grande», the film portrait of one of His best friends, Chilean Francisco Varela.

After Francisco Varela’s early death it was clear to me that I wanted the final material gathered with Varela to be made available to the public. I retired as professor and lecturer from the Zürich University of the Arts, realized the biography and cinematic anthology «Francisco Cisco Pancho» and three years ago began to tackle the archive videos which should now be released – with your financial help – as the last part of the Varela trilogy: the film «Mind & Life»!

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