I am really lucky! I went to Hamburg in July not to miss the chance to meet the Dalai Lama once in my lifetime – and he is back already, right at my front door!
The setting of his lecture is rather unusual. The whole thing will take place in a open air museum of local history, kind of an amusement park – between carousels and medieval cottages! About 20 miles from Frankfurt. Restrictions on photography seem not as strict as elsewhere, so I hope to entertain you with some really unusual pictures.
The Dalai Lama is immensely popular in Germany. According to a recent survey by the leading SPIEGEL news magazine he is regarded a "role model" by a whopping 44% of German people whereas "our" pope Benedict reaches only 42%. Buddhism is considered "the most peaceable religion" by 43%, christianity by 41%.
Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet his Holiness at her office on Saturday. Peking is so pissed off, they ordered the German ambassador. Surprise. No further details revealed.
I like what His Holiness told in Hamburg about his encounters with the American president: "I like George W. Bush. Really! Very simple man."
My own relationship to the Dalai Lama is hopelessly naive. I am helplessly in love with him, just as with almost any being that enjoys tinkering with mechanics, loves science and allows itself to be hot-tempered. He is already sort of my spiritual granddad and he brings candy on each visit.
So tomorrow I will just stand with the crowd, grinning and probably thinking something completely stupid like: "When I grow up, I want to be like him."
Nice weekend all,