Dalai Lama

Attending the teachings of the Dalai Lama presents a wonderful opportunity to come fact to face with His Holiness the 14th Dali Lama, the leader of free Tibet, and to gain a real understanding of his unique nature. Needless to say, attendance also presents the opportunity to gain real insights into the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism.

Attendance at the teachings, not only in the Main Temple in McLeod Ganj, is an unforgettable experience.  They are a meeting place for hundreds of people from all over the world: though the majority are Tibetans, you will find Americans, Germans, Spanish, Israelis, Indians, Austrialians, Swedes... the presence of all of whom together creates a unique atmosphere.

The Teachings last up to ten days, and everybody is welcome in the colorfully decorated Main Temple.  Although the teachings of the Dalai Lama (usually drawn from the various texts of Tibetan Buddhism) are certainly challenging, the atmosphere is not at all rarefied or academic.  Between teachings you will find people singing, laughing and taking tea together and these breaks provide a fantastic opportunity to meet all sorts of interesting people.

Of course, one is not obliged to stay for the entire ten days. You can come and go as you please, but please remain conscious of Tibetan sensibilities... For Tibetan attendees, these Teachings are of great importance, and attendance at them is an opportunity that comes at the very most but once a year. So just be conscious of the significance of the occasion, and don’t be one to cause any unnecessary disturbances.

During the course of the teachings attendees take their meals sitting on the floor, and it is customary to bring one’s own cushion and to keep the spot that one chose on the first day. This prevents any daily bickering over the best places.

What to bring

The weather is notoriously moody in late Fabruary/ early March in McLeod Ganj, so it is best to be prepared for all eventualities! One is well advised to bring warm and waterproof winter gear, including thick socks and an unbrella, but don’t forget the suncream and your shades as well! One section of the hall is open to the elements, and the altitude in the Himalayas can lead to dramatic sun-burn.

As mentioned earlier, it is a good idea to bring a cushion or a mat to sit on, and you will also need a tea cup, since tea is sipped constantly throughout the proceedings! Be careful when trying the butter tea, which comes as quite a shock to European taste buds...

If your Tibetan is not up to much, bring an FM radio with ear plugs with you, so that you can listen to the simultaneous translation of His Holiness’s words into English. Here's the most recent schedule.

The 34 Jataka Tales

These stories, which the Buddha himself is said to have passed on to his diciples, tell of the early life of the Buddha, his followers and enemies.  The stories illustrate the manner in which ones behavior during early life can affect ones present existence through the laws of Karma.  Thus do the Jataka Valleyes provide the moral basis of contemporary Tibetan Buddhism.

The Dhammapada (The Way of Dhamma)

Dhamma is a concept that incorporates several meanings: It comprises the unchanging rules of this world, the univeral order of things, and the rules of reincarnation; it also stands for the teachings of the Buddha, who was the first living being to recognise these universal rules and the order of things.  Apart from that, the concept of Dhamma also incorporates the idea of the moral ground-rules of Buddhism, that is to say its ethical rules and standards of behaviour.  The concept may also be explained by means of a number of deeply difficult philosoplical concepts, which will probably not be explored during the public teachings.

Tours offered in and around the Teachings of his holiness the Dalai Lama

We are pleased to offer a range of possible tours in and around attendance at the Teachings.  Please note that the various programmes described are conceived as suggestions, which are certainly not set in stone and that of course, we are more than happy to consider any variation that you might have in mind! So feel free to imagine your dream tour:  We are here to help make it come together for you, if at all possible.  Just send us an email letting us know what you have in mind and the approximate dates of your trip, and we will put together an individual tour for you.

Suggested Itinerary 1: Delhi – Teachings in McLeod Ganj – Day tour of Kangra Valley – Taj Mahal – Delhi

Day 1: Transfer from Delhi Airport to McLeod Ganj, with accommodation there in a cosy Guesthouse
Day 2 – 3: Acclimatisation in McLeod Ganj
Day 4 – 10: Attendance at the Teachings of the Dalai Lama
Day 11:   Rest day
Day 12:  Day tour of your choice, for example to the Kangra Valley
Day 13:  Rest day in preparation for the return journey
Day 14:   Jeep tour to Agra with overnight accommodation in a hotel
Day 15:   Visit to the Taj Mahal, the Red Fort and the Market in Agra
Day 16:  Return journey to Delhi and, depending on the time of departure, accommodation in a guesthouse, with a transfer to the airport.

Suggested Itinerary 2: Delhi – Teachings in McLeod Ganj – Tour through Manali, and on via the Spiti Valley to Leh, Ladakh - Trekking – Delhi

Day 1: Transfer from Delhi Airport to McLeod Ganj, with accommodation there in a cosy Guesthouse
Day 2 – 3: Acclimatisation in McLeod Ganj
Day 4 – 10: Attendance at the Teachings of the Dalai Lama
Day 11:   Rest day in preparation for the trip north.
Day 12 - 15:  Jeep tour from McLeod Ganj via Manali and the Spiti Valley to Leh, Ladakh with overnight stays in Manali and Spiti; accommodation in Leh in a romanticTibetan guesthouse
Day 16:  Local sightseeing in Leh (Shanti Stupa, Leh Palace, Sankar, Tsemo Monastery)
Day 17:   Further sightsseing in the environs of Leh (for example to the renound Monasteries at Hemis, Shey or Thikse)
Day 18 - 22: Homestay trekking in the stunning Markha Valley (5 days)
Day 23: Return journey by jeep, bus or plane to Delhi, with accommodation in a Guesthouse depending on the time of departure, and a transfer to the airport.