First Selectman George R. Temple had the honor of meeting Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama and spiritual leader of Tibet, Thursday.
The Dalai Lama landed at Oxford Airport before driving to Danbury for an appearance at Western Connecticut State University.
“I knew that the Dalai Lama was a man of peace who was forced to leave Tibet when his country was occupied by the communist Chinese,” said Temple. “Since his exile he has advocated for Democratic reforms in Tibet.”
Temple said that although the Dalai Lama has received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and has been the recipient of 84 other awards including honorary doctorates, he describes himself as a simple Buddhist monk.
Temple said that when his plane landed at Oxford Airport, the Dalai Lama was met with several state and federal security people. Temple said that when he came down the steps of his plane, he bowed to him and Temple bowed back to him.
“I told him that on behalf of the people of Oxford, we were honored to have him in our town. He thanked me and told me how beautiful our town was from the air,” Temple said.
Temple said he then introduced him to Oxford’s state police who were present, including Lt. Michael Hofbauer, Sgt. Dan Semosky and Trooper Josef D’Uva.
He was then whisked away by State Department employees for his motorcade to Danbury where he was guest speaker at Western Connecticut State University. Click here to read a report on the visit from Danbury Patch.
“Everyone who was there for that brief moment in time knew that we were in the presence of greatness. It was a wonderful experience to see such a humble man who has enriched so many lives,” added Temple.
A slideshow of photos from the event is below.
(Editor’s note: Click here to read reactions from Valley Facebook readers, which includes the obligatory “Hello Dalai” reference).