Buddhists Today

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama brings togeth...

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          Having been chosen to interview His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama by “Buddhists Today” magazine, I am overjoyed.  I’ve been requesting an assignment to be able to meet with him for years now.  The opportunity has finally been proffered.

            Packing my bags, I’m preparing to come face to face with someone I have deeply admired for his humility, grace, wisdom and perseverance through the myriad challenges of being spiritual leader of the Tibetan Buddhists of the world while being the most well known of Tibet’s exiles.

            I am flying to Washington, DC where my visit will coincide with a sacred ritual that he will be performing over several days during “Kalachakra for World Peace” from July 6 through the 16th.  He will be guiding student monks through Kalachakra Initiation and will be transmitting authority to them to practice certain spiritual teachings in tantra and other practices.  This process includes bestowal of the Bodhisattva vow.  The actual transference of power begins July 14th.  After the ceremony, I will be granted some time to speak to him before he heads off to his next speaking engagement.

            I arrive at the Georgetown Double Tree located on a quiet, nondescript street not far from the infamous Watergate Hotel and am subsequently shown to a very comfortably appointed room.  I am centrally located and convenient to my appointment with His Holiness that I will be having the following day.

            After a fitful, erratic night’s sleep, I prepare the next morning for my meeting–a car soon arrives to take me on the last leg of my journey that has been a dream of mine for years.  Shortly, we arrive at another hotel not far from where I am staying and enter an underground parking garage and then through an entrance to where I will soon be led and find myself opposite the Dalai Lama.

            My legs begin to tremble as nervousness vibrates through my body.  But as soon as I am escorted into his private quarters and look into that beaming face welcoming me, my fear evaporates and I am at once calmed and at ease.  He is wearing his familiar saffron and maroon-colored robes.  He nods at me, still smiling broadly, and gently takes my hand and motions for me to sit in a chair positioned next to him.   I place my hands together and touch my forehead with them as I give a polite and respectful bow of my head.

            He listens with attentive consideration as I ask my first question of him:  What can we, as individuals, do to help bring about peace between the different peoples of the world who seemingly have such vast disparities and ideals?  His response:  Peace can only be brought about through individuals.  It is through our individual compassion and understanding for one another that we can realize that all people have the same basic requirements of life–to be acknowledged, respected and loved.  It is up to each individual to make that commitment to look upon his fellow men of the world as himself.  When you start to look at differences and focus on external, mundane distinctions, this is where you will lose your humanity.  It is your choice–within each of your hearts. 

            Sir, I am familiar with a quote of yours that really personally resonates with me, “My religion is very simple.  My religion is kindness”.  Would you please expand on that?  In his quiet, sincere voice he offers–I mean that you don’t need to follow strict rituals or dogma as spiritual practice; simply treating others that may cross your path with kindness and respect is all the practice one needs perform.  I am a simple monk and follow this guidance in my everyday life.  Also, let me just add that you Americans are a very worried society.  You are unwittingly creating much more suffering in your lives by your needless worry.  If there is something happening in your lives that you cannot make better or change then there is no need to worry about it.  Worrying is a waste of energy and will not accomplish anything good in your lives.  This is very logical thinking and can alleviate so much suffering if you will let go of worry.  You should read my book, “The Art of Happiness:  A Handbook for Living.”  He followed this statement with the high-pitched giggle for which he is known.

         Our meeting ended with a bow of the head and a hearty laugh by His Holiness.  I leave changed–transformed just by being in his kind presence.



Wordsmith Wednesday:  Cultivating Imagination






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  1. I am so happy for you… what an amazing opportunity… how I wish I could be there and soak in the energy that his presence give…
    Please share your thoughts and interview and your feelings … when with him…

    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Om Namah Shivaya


    • So sorry, Shashi, I should have made this clear that it is not a true story. I was using a prompt and writing a story regarding someone I would like to interview using my imagination.

      I was however in his presence many years ago and wrote an accounting of that but we did not speak to one another.

      I apologize for this misunderstanding.



  2. What a nice honor for you.


    • This is a fictional story, Michael. I’m sorry for the misunderstanding. I wrote this for a prompt of Victoria’s.


  3. jgavinallan

     /  July 15, 2011

    Wait for a loaded with questions e mail


    • Sorry, Jaye, this is not a true story. It’s from a prompt of Victoria’s. I should have made it more clear–I apologize to you.

      Gayle xoxo


      • jgavinallan

         /  July 15, 2011

        this proves you can write…lovely—talented—super


      • jgavinallan

         /  July 15, 2011

        Also—tis is like the orson wells radio broadcast—so true people believed it—great


        • It certainly was not my intention to dupe anyone. I even had the link added to Victoria’s prompt but I guess that wasn’t enough. I feel really bad that people thought this was a true story.

          Just having fun with the prompt!

          Thanks for your kind comments, Jaye. They really mean a lot to me. You are very generous.

          Gayle xoxo


  4. Like others, you wrote this so effectively that I thought it really happened. :0) What a privilege that would be. A few years ago I visited an exhibit in Chicago of the Dali Lama and Thomas Merton (a Trappist monk/writer/poet/photographer) who incorporated Buddhism into his Catholicism (something I find so easy to do myself). In a lucite display case was a pair of the Dali Lama’s shoes. I reached out an put my hand up outside the case (I didn’t touch it-I know better as a docent) and got a shock!! I wish you could have visited this exhibit…I wish I could see it again. So much sacred energy!

    Thank you, Gayle, for sharing this.


  5. Oh, no! I feel really bad about that. I didn’t realize that people would think it was true. I was just having fun with your prompt!

    Wow, what a wonderful experience, Victoria. I think some sacred energy was transferred to you–a blessing. I wish I could have seen that exhibit too. I know of Thomas Merton as well–amazing human being.

    You’re welcome.


  6. Bing

     /  July 16, 2011

    Lovely Gayle, Bing here your friend from Intent.com… I even put myself as the one interviewing the Dalai Lama! It’s like a dream come true 🙂 I love your thoughts. Thanks for sharing.


    • My friend, Bing! How nice it is to have you visit–thanks for coming and enjoying my writing.

      Wouldn’t that be something to be able to meet with him…



  7. I was excited about it being true and ran here to give Kudos!! 🙂
    Just the same, nice way of underlining buddhist messages with the Dalai Lama’s thoughts 🙂 and yes I agree, no worries and all will be much better


    • I wish it had been true too! Just going along on a prompt though…

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.


  8. Having read Victoria’s prompt prior – I suspected it was indeed part of the challenge … however, it was written with such vivid details … it certainly could be a reality … well done, Gayle!! Your imagination serves your creativity well! Bravo!!


    • I was using my imagination! Hehe… Maybe too well!

      Thanks, Becca–sure do appreciate your generous comment. 🙂


  9. I love what you included about the “individual” coming forward with kindness. This resonates with TRUTH. I like your imaginings!


    • There is some truth to this imaginary story, Leslie–for sure!

      Thanks so much–I appreciate your thoughts on this.


  10. For a not real story it looked pretty vivid and real to me Gayle! The little details you’ve included made it like a true story and very engaging to read if I may say so! I came here from Victoria’s Wednesday challenge! Glad I’ve found it! What I loved the most was the answer on your question about the religion being a kindness and how the American society is way too worried about everything. It seems that is all over the world and if we could just stop for a minute, take a deep breath and just search for a calm place in our mind … who knows there might be a peace on Earth even for a minute! Once again, lovely to read this!


    • Thank you for your very kind and generous thoughts here, Blaga! I’ve read some books by the Dalai Lama and he did speak on the worrying nature of Americans and he has a famous quote about his religion being kindness. I just love that so much. He put the idea of religion into such simple terms with those words.

      I agree, maybe for an instant, the Earth could find peace–that would be monumental!

      I really appreciate you enjoying my “pretend” interview–thanks again.


  11. Wow, I, too, thought it was a real event! 😉 That is a testament to the power of your writing, Rose. What an incredible thing, though! I know many people (myself included) who would be so thrilled with exactly such an opportunity! I like that you included the link to the book. If every person on the planet read it, the world would be a much better and different place!


    • Well thanks so much–such a lovely comment. I guess because I have an interest in Buddhism and have read some books by the Dalai Lama–I put some of myself in this story. I in no way wanted people to think it was true though.

      I did have an opportunity to actually be in his presence which I wrote about in a previous post and did stay at the Double Tree in Georgetown. 🙂

      I so agree with you. That book is such an inspiration and the world would make a positive shift if everyone could read it.


  12. … a true story if not a “real” one. So much heart. Well done and aren’t you showing so much versatility. Blog-work pays off, doesn’t it. Nicely done … Have you seen “Ten Questions for the Dalai Lama?”


    • There is some truth in here, Jamie. That ceremony was actually taking place in D.C. as I wrote this during Kalachakra for World Peace–I find that ritual fascinating.

      I find trying different writing prompts is appealing to me–it sure can’t hurt can it?

      That movie is in my lineup on Netflix.

      Thanks so much for your kind support, Jamie.



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