Last year, about 4,000 people hailing from 75 countries met His Holiness the Dalai Lama at his residence in McLeod Ganj, a suburb of Dharamshala in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, India, for a private audience.
According to The Times of India, these 4,000 people—which do not include those who met the Dalai Lama during his touring and teaching schedule outside of his residence—included 250 Chinese and 330 Taiwanese. The police superintendent of McLeod Ganj noted that there is a long waiting list of people seeking a private audience with His Holiness, and interested parties might have to wait for months or even up to a year before an audience can be scheduled.
“The numbers are in the thousands. I don’t have exact figures, but yes people from various countries keep visiting him here,” said Tezin Takla, one of the senior most private secretaries to the Dalai Lama. (The Times of India)
According to the Make My Trip website, an online travel broker, private audiences with the Dalai Lama are usually scheduled on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. To have a private audience, people have to send in an application with personal details and an explanation of why one wishes to meet His Holiness. Each application is intensively screened, as each private audience needs to be approved by the Tibetan and Indian security agencies station near the Dalai Lama’s residence.
In an effort to benefit from the Dalai Lama’s presence and increase tourist numbers in Dharamsala, a group of hoteliers, taxi operators, and travel agents recently met the Dalai Lama requesting him to host Kalachakra teachings, which attracts thousands of devotees from across the world. Due to his age and health, however, Tenzin Takla said that no such teaching has been scheduled and that the same was conveyed to the group of representatives.
The Dalai Lama fled to India from Tibet in 1959. Since taking up residence in India, he has brought the Buddhist teachings to audiences across the world. Those who have had the chance to meet the Dalai Lama share their experience as profound and insightful.
Among the many people who have had the opportunity to meet the Dalai Lama in person at his residence is the American author and public speaker Deepak Chopra. The Dalai Lama welcomed him and 45 of his close friends in January this year, stating that while they have met several times before, he was happy to welcome them into what has been his spiritual home for 60 years.
Paying particular attention to education during the meeting with Chopra, an advocate of the benefits of meditation and traditional medicines, the Dalai Lama said: “In schools we need to teach not only about physical fitness, but about mental fitness too. In general, modern India pays too little attention to this kind of understanding, but I am committed to encouraging a revival of ancient Indian knowledge in this country. I am convinced that India is the only country that can combine modern education with ancient Indian knowledge of the mind and emotions and share it with the wider world.” (His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet).
According to the official schedule of His Holiness for February, the Dalai Lama will deliver a short teaching from the Jataka tales on 19 February, a five-day religious discourse on Bhavaviveka’s Essence of the Middle Way from 20–24 February, and a long-life offering ceremony on 27 February at his residence.
People from 75 countries, including China, met Dalai Lama at his residence in 2018 (The Times of India)
Deepak Chopra and Friends Meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama (His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet)
Schedule (His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet)
Meeting the Dalai Lama: Everything You Need to Know (Make My Trip)