Dalai Lama gives only a few teachings a year in Dharamshala because he is traveling all year long. Thousands of people join his teachings. Registration for the teachings starts 3 days ago. The day we would join the teaching, we started off at 4.30 am in the morning with the crazy taxis I have mentioned in the previous articles. We were in Dharamshala around 6 am and joined the line for the registration immediately. The line was full of with monks and people from all over the world. Thankfully, we were ahead in the line because we got there really early. After us, the line got longer and longer. After you register, you have to go through security check. You are not allowed to go in with cell phones and cameras. There is a place there where you can leave them. You may think why is there security control in a monastery. Unfortunately because of the relations between Tibet and China, even here they have to check for security.
When we were registering, the person in charge told us that we have to go to the area where the teaching will take place, if we want to find a place to sit. Luckily we had listened to him. Even though it was early in the morning, the area was full of people. Monks were sitting in the front. Where you sit is an open area with a shelter on it. There is a closed place in the middle where Dalai Lama talks. There are also big screens because not everyone can see Dalai Lama. Since we couldn’t sit all together, everyone found a place to sit. Three of us (Naghmeh, Tugba and me), we squeezed in a place where we can see Dalai Lama right behind the monks and started to wait. Dalai Lama gives his teaching in Tibetan, and on specific radio channels, you can listen to simultaneous translations in English, Korean, Russian and in some other languages. But to do that, you need to have an FM radio and headphones with you. So thanks to my MP3 player and Naghme’s headphone splitter, we were waiting all ready. There were many Tibetan sitting behind us. Suddenly, there was a commotion and all these people sitting behind, rushed to the door of the place where Dalai Lama would speak. You need to have a special permission to get in that area but there is a possibility that people without permission got there in that chaos.
But because all those people sitting behind went there, their seats got empty so we got to take their seats where we can see Dalai Lama comfortably. The weather was really cold, but everyone was sitting so close to each other, we weren’t really feeling the cold. Suddenly everybody stood up. We looked at the screens and saw Dalai Lama walking on the outside. Everybody was waiting for him standing up. Dalai Lama was moving slowly due to his age but then to our surprise, he gave a teaching non-stop for 3 hours long.
He was unbelievably kind, humble. When he was talking, monks handed out Tibetan tea and bread. Tibetan Tea is salty, milky and buttery as Mongolian Tea. During his teaching, he stopped and asked once in a while “Do you understand?”, “Does everyone has a book?” etc. The best part was his laughter right in the middle when he was talking so seriously. He talked about compassion and mercy many times during his teaching.
When he had finished, he started to walk towards the exit among the people. There was a very cute kid at the age of 5, next to us running around during the whole teaching with a Sponge Bob bag. When he was waiting for Dalai Lama pass in his mother’s arms, he kept saying “Dalai Lama” in the calmest voice. It was impossible for Dalai Lama to hear him, bu never stopped. (He stayed the kid who said “Dalai Lama” for us the whole trip, and unbelievably he came to our ashram and stayed there for a couple of days. And we ran into him again after the training on our last day in Dharamshala.) Dalai Lama stopped and talked to someone. Later on, we’d found out what he said from someone in our group; he said to the person “Your glasses are very nice.” and talked about the glasses. When he left, we also left after him. Everybody was so happy, not only because of what the talked about but also to be in his presence. When you are in presence of people like Dalai Lama, their energy spreads around. We were walking happily in the streets of Dharamshala.
*The photos below are from some pujas we attained and temples/monasteries we had visited.