I recently discovered a link to occasional live events that are broadcast directly from Dharmsala or other locations in India featuring teachings with the Dalai Lama. There is in fact a teaching tonight and tomorrow night, July 27 and July 28 (U.S. time), on Shantideva’s A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life. On July 29 (our time), the Dalai Lama will confer the Avalokiteshvara empowerment.
For anyone who has ever attended Tibetan Buddhist empowerments, the ability to view them online, let alone receive them directly (albeit remotely) from the Dalai Lama is an incredibly rare opportunity. Now, for those unfamiliar with Tibetan Buddhist teachings, there’s lots of ritual, and chanting, and depictions of Tibetan Buddhist gods and goddesses, along with vow-taking commitments to practice compassion and altruism. It’s not for everyone. But it can be an extremely powerful and spiritually rewarding experience if one is willing to immerse themselves for some time in the colorful and often mysterious Tibetan cultural and spiritual milieu.
In June, I remotely viewed a teaching event that was attended live by 8,500 people from 56 nations. By way of a personal tribute to him, I’ll briefly recount the times I had seen him in person.
Previously, I had traveled to see the Dalai Lama three times, including a historical, first-ever, three-day event consisting of teachings to the Chinese Buddhist community in Los Angeles in 1996. This was a remarkable occurrence in light of the history between the Chinese government and Tibet. But the Dalai Lama had no reservations about giving teachings to those thirsting for spiritual knowledge.
I also saw the Dalai Lama is San Francisco in the mid-90s. I recall a split second during the preliminary stages of the event, when suddenly I perceived a tangible shift take place, akin to a spiritual sonic boom, as though a fissure abruptly occurred in the time-space continuum and supernal blessings were released that rippled through the assembly.
And, through connections, I stood in a line where the Dalai Lama personally greeted each of us after a 1993 event hosted by a museum in Victoria, B.C. After offering him a katha (white scarf), he in turn placed it around my neck—a traditional observance—as I stood with my head bowed before him and my hands joined together in respectful salutation. But I forgot to open my eyes! After several seconds I opened them, and there he was, staring right at me about a foot away, his face beaming his inimitable smile. Then he broke into his characteristic deep, contagious laughter, all the while gazing into my eyes! I guarantee, this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I had to sequester myself afterward in a quiet aisle at the museum, as his blessings were so powerful that I could not function for some time. To this day, I am placed in that same profound spiritual mood whenever I recall this brief but extraordinarily intense encounter, which may never have occurred had I not closed my eyes for so long.
The Dalai Lama is currently 87 years old. He is one of the greatest spiritual teachers of our time; situated well on the other side of the Looking Glass, and bringing us teachings of compassion and how to advance spiritually. It is increasingly rare to meet and receive teachings from Tibetan Buddhist lamas who were born, let alone received their training in Tibet prior to the Chinese government takeover. If you are so inclined, catch the Dalai Lama live, online from India, from the comfort of your home.