Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Afternoon with the Dalai Lama

By: Omar W. Rosales

So anyways - the day of the meeting. We arrive at about 11AM. The morning teaching program has just ended, so we wander past the crowds from the monastery, until we reach the reception center.

Once inside, I tell the guards of our appointment, and they call Tenzin Takla (the Dalai Lama's Nephew and scheduler). As we're waiting, a girl comes in followed by her boyfriend. She appears hysterical and is making all sorts of weird singing noises, like she's in some sort of ecstatic trance. Bill gives her some water, and she collapses into her boyfriend's arms.

The day before, in the reception area, was a woman claiming to be a French Diplomat, and wanting to see His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. She was dressed in a tight t-shirt, spandex, and crocs. Yeah right. Note to self, if you claim to be a diplomat, don't show up at the Embassy in Spandex and Crocs. So, the Spandex woman shoves her passport and business card into the guard's face. "Look - diplomat! See my card?". Note to self numero 2, if you are a diplomat, the office should already be expecting you. No way, you're just going to show up and demand to see His Holiness.

So back to the day of our interview, we're waiting in the office with the hysterical girl, then the guards motion us in. After several searches, we're cleared to enter the compound. No cellphones.

We walk a short path up to the Treaty House. I call it the Treaty House, because it looks like Peace Accords are signed here. Three rooms, a big conference room, and a small kitchen. The guards (Indian-trained Tibetan commandos) have already brought our cameras and sound gear up. Inside the conference room are two of the biggest monks I've ever seen. One is 6'3" 220lbs and the other is 6'1" 210 lbs, solid. The big monks ask if we need to rearrange furniture. The bigger one (probably nicknamed "Tiny") manhandles a solid wood table, without even breaking a sweat . . . and after a few moments of rearranging, the room is ready. Cameras are set up. Roll film, roll sound.

After a couple of minutes, Tenzin Takla walks in. I speak with him for a moment. His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, is on the way.

Bill is changing something on one of the cameras last minute, when all of a sudden, the Dalai Lama walks in.

He's tall! He's about 5'9", but a bit hunched over a bit because of his back. We sit down. The Dalai Lama mikes himself, sound check and we're off.

I speak to His Holiness about my questions, about my dreams. I tell him about our program, and he nods. It was amazing.

It was amazing! After 40 minutes, all my questions were answered. We spoke about Global Warming and Cloning. The Buddha and Nirvana. And culture, why its important to preserve culture.

At the very end, he stands so that we may all take a picture with him. He then approaches me, close. The Lord Buddha clasped my hand, with his. "Holiness" I say. "Please don't leave us. We love you too much." He says, "Don't worry, I have no plans to leave. Not just yet." The Dalai Lama smiled. And the Lord Buddha's hand provided me comfort.

I presented him our gift. A new Swiss Army knife with Barometer, Altimeter, Temperature, Time, and an LED light. (His Holiness the Dalai Lama collects Swiss Army knives and timepieces). He thanked me, then put the gift in his monk's bag, underneath the folds to his robe. We said our goodbyes. Then he left.

For five years, I traveled the world to find Spiritual Masters. High and low, from deserts to oceans, I've risked my life to find Messages for Humanity. Inner Peace, the Environment, and the search for our immortal souls. And you know what? The final realization is that you don't have to go to India, or Central America, or anywhere else to find comfort. The secret to Heaven lies within. That's what the Buddha taught me . . .

And that was the second time I met His Holiness, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet.

- Omar W. Rosales