His Holiness, The Dalai Lama

“What have you learned here?”

 The smiling man asking the question was wearing the simple gold and maroon robes and the shaven head of a Tibetan Buddhist monk.

 “Here” was Dharmasala, a remote mountain region in northern India, and this was an incredible, and wholly––as well as holy——unexpected moment.

 This wasnoordinary monk, but His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet who is considered by many as one of the 20th,and now 21stcentury’s greatest spiritual leaders—--a contemporary combination of Mahatma Gandhi and the Pope.

 As he asked me the question he’d reached out and taken my hand. I was almost speechless. He continued to hold it.

 “I, uh, learned the three basic principles of Buddhism,” I managed to stammer, grateful he didn’t ask me to repeat them in order, and instead he smiled and started discussing Buddhism.

 He continued holding my hand, and then, just before our group of adventurers left, he placed his hand on the top of my head, a traditional Buddhist blessing.

 One of the women who’d made arrangements for our groupgrinned at me and whispered: “Now you’ll never have to wash your hair again!”

 Lynn Doran, 2018

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