Dalai Lama

May 26, 2009

Why o’ why did we drive all the way from Dehra Dun to Dharmsala when the geology we were focusing on was not near Dharmsala?  This made no sense but I endured it. Why? Because I wasn’t in charge and not being in charge means that you are not informed. And even if you are in charge, you are only informed in India on a need to know basis [see future post]. The details of why we were going so far out of our way were definitely not mine to know. So, I sat for 12 hours in a truck with Maya strapped to me…feeding when needed, sleeping when needed. We ate late, near 10 pm and were up early (7 am). More waiting and wondering what was going on. Turns out our host was sick so the morning wait was excusable. Although, he neglected to tell us until he arrived at 10 am. Load into a vehicle…and drive, where?  I don’t know, nobody told me. We arrived.

Looks like we are going into a temple. The Tibetan ladies really like Maya. The morning is cool and we are in the mountains, I forgot to pack socks. The ladies pinch her cheeks. We are going into the temple but first we must get frisked. Wow, that was the most action I had in a week. Where are we going?  Follows the crowd. .. there is a crowd of people standing looking into the temple, must be something really nice in there but I’m too shy to stop and look, I don’t want to block anyone’s view. Our Host calls me back. I grudging walk back in front of everyone with my head down, embarrassed that my host would make such a big deal.

I look. Seated and chanting in his morning mediation …. the Dalai Lama

The unexpected impact was tangible, I step back. I look again. Yes, it is him. I bow my head. I respectfully leave my spot standing in front of the crowds.

I went behind the crowd amongst the prostrating monks. I found a spot where I could quietly gaze upon him. There wasn’t much to see. It was the Dalai Lama with his eyes closed in meditation, chanting, and rocking back and forth. Yet the feeling of the people watching him was unexpected….hopeful, peaceful, expecting, respectful. It was peaceful watching him and watching others watch him. After some time, I walked around the temple. There were many prayer wheels to turn. As I turned each one, I thought of my friends, family, the lost babies. My prayers were sent out on the ever present wind. I was admonished by many a Tibetan Lady for not having socks on Maya. It really wasn’t that cold, plus she was strapped to me.

I forgave my host for not telling us what we were doing.  He should have told us but I know he wanted to keep it a secret. I would have like to be in a proper mental mood for such an encounter. However, it did feel like a chance encounter with the Dalai Lama…something unexpected, a treasured gift. It was a good way to start the field season in India.


  1. That is awesome that you got to see the Dalai Lama!

  2. What an awesome experience!

  3. O wow. What an amazing experience. Completely awesome.

  4. way cool. I wish one day I get to turn the prayer wheels as well.

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