Dalai Lama Comes a callin'!
(a slide show)
|Toward the end
of 2006, I learned
that His Holiness,
the14th Dalai Lama, was supposed to come
to my little
town on Maui to
dedicate a "Stupa" (Buddhist shrine). It was to be within a block's
walk of my house!
My first thought was, "He'll NEVER come here!" I bet my Braddah twenty bucks the Boys at Homeland Security wouldn't let him visit. "Town's too small. Not even a Maui Police Sub-Station for local 'intelligence' and only one two-lane road as a major artery. No way!"
Of course my first concern regarding a world Icon of Peace and Compassion was that he'd get knocked off. Look at our times! Apparently, I wasn't alone.
A year before, the Maui Dharma Center began seeking his Holiness's Blessing of a Stupa yet to be constructed. Untold hours of building, fundraising and dealing with the Tibetan equivalent of the Vatican and many Governmental Agencies brought it to fruition -- and set me up to lose twenty bucks!
One month before His Holiness' visit, THEY started coming in waves and droves. FBI, CIA, Homeland Security, MPD, Interpol, Tibetan Guards, anybody with a badge, it seemed. From friends close to the Dharma Center I learned there were webs of evaluations, investigations, administrations, and other permutations of anticipatory security-related activity, all over town.
No cameras are allowed onto the grounds of any of the Dalai Lama's visits except for officially approved photographers, subject to background investigations. They approved three for the Paia visit. I was not one of them.
Hours before His arrival, the streets were packed with spectators. The roads leading into town were closed. A limited number of "Dignitaries" were allowed on the grounds of the Dharma Center and its gates closed. When the motorcade arrived, floods of agents disembarked and filled the space around His Holiness, and pretty much kept it filled.
"These guys are GOOD!" I admitted to myself. I couldn't recall seeing anything documenting just how tight security is for this man of peace. In photos, the massive presence of armed guards was always invisible.
So, camera in hand, I explored the art of invisibility myself.
BELOW IS THE SLIDE SHOW.
Place CURSOR over images for CAPTIONS!