Dalai Lama- Rama

It’s no coincidence that I’m writing about the recent visit by the Dalai Lama, our cover story for this issue of MidWeek. The coverage of his visit may seem overwhelming, but I had to relay my experience – a perspective from a regular guy. If I didn’t, my 23-year-old son would never forgive me. He’s a self-made Tibetan scholar who has already met the Dalai Lama, and last summer he spent a week in Dharamsala, India, home of the Dalai Lama, as a guest of his younger brother.

So I was our son’s proxy at this highly anticipated event. Although I could’ve probably gotten exclusive press access, I decided to buy a ticket like everyone else to ensure I had a good seat. The minute after tickets were available online, I purchased a premium seat on the floor fronting the stage at Stan Sheriff Center.

I had my wife drop me off a few blocks away, as I didn’t want to fight traffic, hassle with parking or the incredibly tight security. When I got to the venue, there was a line so long I thought I was at Disneyland waiting to get on the Indiana Jones ride. Then there was the “TSA experience” where you had to empty your pockets and go through a metal detector. I made it in just as the Dalai Lama came onto the stage.

As my luck would have it, I sought out my seat only to see that someone was sitting in it. I asked an usher for some assistance. Due to the nature of the event, this was going to be handled quite peacefully, so instead of confronting the person in my seat, they decided to find me another one. I paid $90 for the ticket so I was somewhat upset to have gone through what I did only not to have a seat. I started to channel what the Dalai Lama was saying about being happy, so I calmed down. What the heck, I’ll just stand in the back and be happy about it. Just as I made that emotional commitment, the usher came to me and escorted me to an even better seat, one within a few rows of his Tibetan holiness – and in a row reserved for media no less. I guess that’s what’s called good karma.

On another note, the Dalai Lama actually spoke about happiness and going to the bathroom. Now that’s my kind of guy!