Richard Gere on Buddhism: A "Totally Reliable" System

Excerpted from USA TODAY, April 2, 1996.

Recently, USA Today ran an interview with Richard Gere, where the 46 year-old actor discussed not only his new movie, "Primal Fear," but more importantly for us as Buddhists, his views on Buddhism.

It may not generally be known to his fans, but Richard Gere is not only a Buddhist, but also one who meditates daily. "It helps me set my motivation for the day," he said. He also frequently visits the Dalai Lama in Tibet. Probably like many baby-boomers, he first discovered Buddhism in the late '70s. "Buddhism," says Gere, "is a system that I find totally reliable. It's an ancient tradition; it wasn't invented 10 years ago." In his meditations, the goal is to "break down the barriers of ego. Ultimately, you want to exchange self for 'other'...By studying the nature of existence itself, you begin to see what your program is and how you got into a state that is less than happy, with some level of confusion and frustration. Then you can find out why that happened, how to get out and move on to something else."

The ultimate goal, says Gere, "is to become happier...it's about promoting a state. And it's not an action, it's a process...We're all moving away from suffering and toward happiness. We just don't know how to do it, so we mess up every time."

-Peter Hata

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