Tenzin Gyatzo, HH the 14th Dalai Lama is the current spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, believed by some to be a living Buddha, he is an active spokesman for the liberation of Tibet and “his” people.

His current residence, when not travelling lives in Dharamsala, a small village in India, this village has been his home for most of his exile from Tibet.

Many people from across the world, Tibetans and westerners alike travel all year around to greet this man, this amazing man offers wisdom and spiritual guidance.
He makes many public appearances and private audiences are granted very rarely.
If you do travel to meet His Holiness certain protocols must be observed.
A guideline of these observances follows.

  • First of all on your way to meet the Dalai Lama, you should purchase a white scarf, these are easy to find and will cost you near to nothing. This scarf will later be blessed by the Dalai when he greets you.
    There is also often a small table so you can leave other small items you want blessed.
    Common items to bring are statues, other scarves, mandalas, prayer wheels or prayer beads.
  • When you arrive at the reception you will have a waiting time of about 15 minutes; this is so that the security can assure that you haven’t got any cameras or weapons.
    They will also indicate where you can stand.
  • When his Holiness comes down the line, have your scarf ready to be blessed as he has many people to greet and you will see him only briefly.
    When he greets you bow your head in reverence.
    Some of the westerns try to sneak a look and gain eye contact with him.
    Others (mostly Tibetans prostrate themselves in front of him).
  • When you leave you will be rewarded with a blessed cord that you should wear around your neck in remembrance of him. This cord is believed by many Buddhists to ward off evil spirits or influences.

Notes

Non-Tibetans are allowed to meet the Dalai Lama once a year as part of his international outreach to raise awareness about Chinese occupation of Tibet.
Tibetans are essentially allowed to meet him once in a lifetime - he greets Tibetans who have recently fled Tibet.

March is the nicest time of year to visit Dharamsala.

A note on the meaning of Dalai Lama which I found in my research for this write-up,

Dalai is Mongolian for “ocean”
Lama is Tibetan for “spiritual teacher”
The translation is “Ocean of Wisdom


Sources:
Google search and the first ten pages that came up.
A long conversation with my mother (the best Buddhist that I know).
www.dalailama.com – If you want to know more please visit this web site. Even you don’t want to know more visit it anyway. It is worth it.

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