A Meeting to Remember Forever

How His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, became my spiritual guru

7/5/2016 5:03:36 PM
written By : Pamposh Dhar Print

In an age of false gurus, one man stands head and shoulders above the rest. He describes himself as a “simple Buddhist monk,” yet he does not speak so much about religion as about kindness and compassion. Among the Dalai Lama’s most famous quotes is this one: “This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”

As he turns 81 this month, I recall my first meeting with this wise, loving and compassionate man many, many years ago – a meeting that was a turning point in my own life and remains fresh in my mind, as if it happened yesterday. 

In March 2001, I was at the lowest point in my life, having recently lost my nephew at the young age of 20. A few months before his passing, we had talked about going to meet the Dalai Lama. I now decided to do this on my own, for both of us. One of my aunts arranged a private meeting and her daughter offered to go with me to Dharamsala, up in the Indian Himalayas, where the Dalai Lama has lived in exile since 1959.

The meeting lasted 20 or 30 minutes – I cannot be sure exactly how long because I lost track of time as soon as I met His Holiness. I cannot remember very much of what he said, or what I said either for that matter. Nevertheless, this brief meeting left a lasting impact on me, changing me forever. 

At the time, he was teaching monks in all-day sessions and had agreed to meet us during the lunch break. I wondered with a twinge of guilt if I was keeping the Dalai Lama from his food. Then I told myself he knew better than me if he could spare the time, and I was certainly grateful for his kindness and generosity of spirit.

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