Thursday, July 6, 2006

My Dalai Lama story

Today is the Dalai Lama's birthday. He's 71. In honor of this occasion I'll tell my Dalai Lama story.

In 1996 I was on a project for Oracle in Denver. I was to meet some friends at a bar in lower downtown. They were late arriving. Newly sober, I was uncomfortable hanging out in the bar, so I decided to walk around the block. I saw a group of people in saffron and maroon robes on the sidewalk near a hotel, holding signs and chanting. I didn't know what they were there for, but they all seemed pretty happy.

A black limosine pulled up, and a group got out. They rushed into the hotel, and a large crowd formed around the front of the hotel. They were having a press conference, and it was visible through the front glass of the hotel. I ran up and joined the crowd, still unaware of who was giving the press conference. I was working my way through the crowd to see who was inside, when suddenly the crowd parted in front of me, and I fell forward towards the glass. I put my hands up to break my fall and thumped the glass.

Just at that moment, I saw the Dalai Lama answering reporters' questions. He stopped to see what the ruckus had been, saw me with my hands still up above my head against the glass, and must have thought I was waving at him. I'll never forget this moment: He looked me straight in the eye, smiled, and waved back at me. I'm not sure what he was thinking, but he seemed to be amused.

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