One day in the Dalai Lama’s shoes

The Dalai Lama

Would you like to spend one day in the Dalai Lama’s shoes? His Holiness is often travelling in India and across the world. His daily habits change when he moves from one place to another, according to his schedule and obligations. However, when he is at home, in Dharamsala, he is faithful to a particular routine. How does a typical day look like in the Dalai Lama’s life? Let’s see!

Morning softness : listening to yourself and the world

Despite his busy schedule the Dalai Lama is an early riser and tries to go to sleep before 8pm. Today, at nine o’clock, it’s been already five hours that you are awake.  

Wake up at 3am and after taking a shower spend the first four hours of your day praying and meditating on the roots of compassion, on what kind of positive thing you could bring to the world, to others. Do not forget to meditate on your condition as a human being condition: mentally prepare your death.


© Hartwig HKD

You can then take a little morning walk. If it rains, be prepared: use a treadmill.

For breakfast served at 5.30am you can drink some tea, eat hot porridge, tsampa (roasted barley powder) and bread with preserves.

Concerned by the difference between information and wisdom, His Holiness tries to connect daily life facts and ancient wisdom in order to have a better comprehension of this world’s mysteries. In the same way, as a disciple and student of Life, during the breakfast listen to the BBC World News in English.

Food for the mind : Meditation, Readings and Sweet Tooth

After breakfast, from 6 to 9am, go further in your inner-exploration: continue your meditation and prayers.  

From nine o’clock, the great internal journey takes another shape. Take time to study Buddhists texts and various commentaries written by various Buddhist masters.

© Jean d'Hugues

© Jean d’Hugues

Enthralled by your readings, you did not notice that it is already 11.30am : time for lunch!

Whereas the Dalai Lama is not necessarily vegetarian when he is away from home, he is certainly vegetarian in Dharamsala. Taking it into account, you will have to refrain yourself from going to the butcher or the fishmonger today. A small piece of advice : try to taste the Thali. This Indo-Nepali specialty is a real delight.


© Jocelyne Houghton

An afternoon in good company : Sharing and Transmission

From 12am to 3.30pm, let’s go to the office to talk with your colleagues about work. If they are willing to play the game, you can together discuss about the Buddhist spirituality: it is a good way to initiate them to this philosophy and to share your experience in this field, even if it’s a one-day experience. The Dalai Lama also takes advantage of this time to talk over work with his collaborators, hold hearings and receive Tibetan and non-Tibetan people.

Relaxation evening : Calm and Spirituality

After all the excitement, you can take your evening tea around 5pm. As you strictly follow the Vinaya, the Buddhist body of text which tells the monastic community practices, you will not have dinner.

One hour and a half of prayer and meditation again and it will be time to go to bed.

It is only 7pm but if you want to start over again tomorrow, do not forget your alarm clock will wake you up at 3am.

The Dalai Lama

© Kris Krüg

The day is over. You may now be recharged with positive energies, and meditation sessions have probably made you feel peaceful, relaxed and open.  I hope that the experience of living the monastic routine of a major spiritual figure was rewarding at some point. A voluntary commitment to renew wholeheartedly!

Pico Iyer, author of « The Open Road: the Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama » confides us that, in order to understand in a better way His Holiness, « perhaps it’s most useful to see him as a doctor of the soul. »


To go further on your discovery of Buddhist spirituality, participate to the Kalachakra 2017 with the Dalai Lama.

Cover picture : © Darko Silkman

Tags: ,

One Response

  1. Karma Dechen

    Great experiencie!!!

Check out our latest
Articles, Videos, Events,
Recipes and more!

Scroll To Top