Stories From The Camp: Lunch With His Holiness The Dalai Lama

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We recently had the honour of hosting His Holiness The Dalai Lama at Chamba Camp, Diskit in Ladakh for lunch. Our resident blogger, Rupert Winchester documents the entire experience here.

Photo Credits: www.dalailama.com

His Holiness The Dalai Lama graced us with his presence at Chamba Camp, Diskit

His Holiness The Dalai Lama graced us with his presence at Chamba Camp, Diskit

Working as a journalist, as I have done for many years, I’ve met many powerful and important people. Household names, politicians, captains of industry, celebrities. You quickly get inured to it – interviewing the famous is part of their, and your, job. It’s a transaction, and mostly there is nothing particularly memorable or different about famous people.

Except this week, I met a celebrity who was different. At Chamba Camp Diskit, we were immensely proud to hold a lunch for a man who occupies a place all on his own in the pantheon of the celebrated, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

Most years, His Holiness comes up and spends a couple of weeks in Ladakh, because of its preponderance of Tibetan Buddhists. He teaches and gives talks on aspects of Buddhism. He also greets passionate crowds of devotees. And in amongst all of this, he came to our camp to enjoy a meal. This is the second time His Holiness graced us with his presence. Read all about the first time here.

Our set up for his Holiness, The Dalai Lama

Our set up for his Holiness, The Dalai Lama

Despite having celebrated his 82nd birthday at the beginning of July, His Holiness is full of life and an infectious energy. He sat with us and talked about his life, about Ladakhi wildlife, and about Buddhism. He was warm and wise, calm and centered. People who spent time with him spoke of his vast positive energy, his interest in the people around him, and his manifest kindness.

My wife and I, for various complicated reasons, brought a small dog with us to Ladakh. We had shut him in a tent during His Holiness’s visit, but somehow he managed to escape, and we suddenly spotted him running around under the lunch table.

We were hideously embarrassed, but when His Holiness spotted him, he insisted that little Harley be allowed to roam around unfettered, and he even blessed him after the meal, an honour that Harley remained largely insensible of.

His Holiness The Dalai Lama blessing Harley and the camp staff

His Holiness The Dalai Lama blessing Harley and the camp staff

But it seemed entirely part of the man’s character; generous, friendly and loving, welcoming, wise and compassionate. We at Chamba Camp, Diskit were thrilled and honoured to have His Holiness come and visit us, it is an occasion that none of us, except perhaps for Harley, will ever forget.

Wondering why The Dalai Lama visited the camp? Get all your answers here!

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