Thousands line up in Westminster Saturday morning to see the Dalai Lama

By Deepa Bharath | OCRegister

WESTMINSTER, CA, US, 18 June 2016

Thousands lined up outside the Chua Dieu Ngu Buddhist temple as early as 2 a.m. Saturday morning to catch a glimpse of the 14th Dalai Lama.

People waited for up to five hours to clear security checks.

But, it would all be worth it, said Teri Chen of Fountain Valley, who took her place in the line at 5:30 this morning.

“I’ve seen [the Dalai Lama] many times,” she said. “He has a special connecting power to connect with your heart. When you look at him you get a sense of peace and compassion. He’s a living Buddha.”

Alejandra Paez said she comes all the way from Miami Beach, Fla., just to hear the Dalai Lama speak about compassion. The program is expected to begin at 9 a.m.

“My mother passed away just a week ago,” said Paez, who is a Tibetan Buddhist. “I’m here so I can pray for her and get the Dalai Lama’s blessings on her soul.”

She said the Dalai Lama is a “human being who cares and has compassion for everyone, regardless of who they are and what their social status is.”

Nhat My Thien, a member of the Westminster temple, said she is thrilled the Dalai Lama is here for the dedication of the temple where she prays and meditates.

The 20,000-square-foot, $6-million traditional temple building, built under the leadership of its abbot Thich Vien Ly features pagodas, a red brick tile roof, a giant statue of Buddha gracing the temple front, and living quarters for the monks.

Thien said the exiled Tibetan leader who rebelled against the communist Chinese regime is a symbol of hope and human rights for the Vietnamese community.

“We’re just very, very happy he’s here,” she said.

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