Dalai Lama's Advice Runs to Earthier Tones

Exile's Indian headquarters draws seekers of celestial, and not-so-celestial, guidance
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 9, 2008 3:00 PM CDT
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama leads a prayer session for earthquake victims in China, at the Tsuglakhang temple in Dharmsala, India, Wednesday, June 4, 2008.    (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)
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(Newser) – Driven by questions both spiritual and secular, more Westerners are heading to the Dalai Lama's headquarters-in-exile, the Wall Street Journal reports. Humble despite being proclaimed a “God-King,” Tibet's spiritual leader has sought “opportunities to be interactive” in the Indian town of Dharmsala—seeing a wide variety of visitors and dispensing wisdom on career choices and broken relationships … as well as religion.

“He'll see anyone, unless you are a complete lunatic," the Lama’s brother says. The monks’ availability and improved Indian transport have driven tourism in Dharmsala up 30% the past 4 years, with nearly twice as many Americans. Unfortunately, not everyone has the deepest understanding of Buddhism: People visit "and say 'Dalai Lama, I want my enlightenment. I've got 10 days,” one café owner remarks.