His Holiness the Dalai Lama will be making his ninth visit to Australia in June, to instill his belief that an ethical life transcends all barriers.
Twelve months ago, on March 10, 2012 at the start of the Indian summer, the sun shone warmly on Dharamsala (pronounced Daramasalais), at the foothills of the Indian Himalayan alps.
Already, by mid morning, Tibetans, monks and tourists were out and about under the prayer flags on Temple Road, circling His Holiness the Dalai Lama's private residence and the adjacent Tsuglagkhang Temple, where from time to time thousands gather to hear his Buddhist teachings.
"It was both an ordinary day and an extraordinary day and one I will always cherish," said Lynn Bain, general manager of Dalai Lama in Australia.
She had travelled from Sydney Australia to McLeod Ganj, site of the Dalai Lama's private residence in upper Dharamsala, a hill town some 2000 metres above sea level at the foot of the Indian Himalayas, to hand deliver an invitation from Australia.
For several days prior to presenting the invitation, Lynn carried it with her, even making a symbolic offering as she walked the 'Kora', a ritual circuit around the small mountain which is the location of the Dharamsala monastery.
On behalf of her organisation and many Buddhist and community groups, she then presented it to Mr Chimme Rigzing, private secretary to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, at a meeting at the Dalai Lama's residence.
It invited the Dalai Lama to travel to Australia in 2013 - from the foothills of the Himalayan alps to the almost sea level of Sydney's Darling Harbour - then on to Melbourne, Adelaide and, for the first time, to visit Darwin in the hot, far north of Australia.
His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, Nobel Laureate, Congressional Medal recipient, Templeton Prizewinner, accepted.
In her Dharamsala hotel room, Lynn Bain, punched a small high five in the air.
For everyone back in Australia, it was the culmination of much hard work and many prayers and the beginning of much exciting work to be done. On a personal level, it was also the way she had chosen to mark her 50th year, at least in this lifetime, as a Buddhist might say, at His Holiness's home in exile.
Tens of thousands of people from all walks of life visit the Dalai Lama's complex in Dharamsala each year to attend rare Buddhist Teachings, buy unique Tibetan crafts and souvenirs and many no doubt hoping to better understand Buddhism or just to catch a glimpse or a photo snap of the Dalai Lama himself.
"For much of the year His Holiness is travelling, both nearby and to other continents, going only where invited to spread his secular message of compassion, peace and the benefits of living ethically,"said Lynn.
"In Australia, we are incredibly fortunate that His Holiness will visit us again, going to Adelaide for the first time in 20 years, to Melbourne where he has several special engagements, conducting a rare teaching in Sydney and for the first time visiting Darwin, which will be a wonderful experience for the people of the Northern Territory," she said.
The Dalai Lama will be nearing 78 years old when he visits Australia for 10 days from 13-23 June, 2013. It will be his ninth visit to our country.
Such is enthusiasm for the visit, even six months prior to his arrival, over 12,000 Australians have reserved seats to hear the Dalai Lama speak.
Days after presenting the invitation Lynn Bain found herself attending a Teaching with the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala. Sitting on a cushion on the ground and in his line of sight she was just one of many among several thousand people squeezed onto every available inch of floor space inside and outside the main Temple.
"I was in awe and it truly brought home to me the amazing opportunity ahead for Australians," said Lynn.
"We will be so very fortunate in Australia to have the access, the opportunity coming right here to us in Sydney."
Australians are among the many thousands of people who travel from around the world to reach Dharamsala each year to experience a Teaching with the Dalai Lama. The journey takes them first from Australia to Delhi, then 14 hours on a bus to lower Dharamsala, or 12 hours on a train to Pathankot, then 3-4 hours by bus or taxi before a shuttle to McLeod Ganj, site of the Dalai Lama's temple.
"In other countries, there can be little shade and little space and audiences can be so vast, His Holiness is far away. Here, we will sit in air conditioned comfort in entertainment and convention centres with the support of expert audio visual teams and major screens.
"It's the opportunity of the lifetime to see one of the world's most revered teachers offering his wisdom in a contemporary setting," she said.
The overarching theme of the secular 2013 Australian Visit will be "Beyond Religion, the Benefits of Living Ethically".
"On the Dalai Lama's last Australian visit, 65,000 people attended public events with a further 110,000 engaging online and we expect even greater attendance this year," said Lynn.
"To be in the Dalai Lama's presence and learn directly from him, is a very powerful experience indeed, a once in a lifetime opportunity," she added.
The Dalai Lama's Australian Visit 2013
Over 10 days, the Dalai Lama's schedule will comprise four cities as follows:
Teachings in Sydney, Australia from June 14 to 16
His Holiness will give two and a half days of teachings on Khunu Lama Tenzin Gyaltsen's Jewel Lamp, A Praise of Bodhichitta (jangchup semkyi toepa rinchen dronme) at the Sydney Entertainment Center. Contact Website: www.dalailamainaustralia.org
The Teaching in Sydney is for everyone, Buddhist, non Buddhists, people from all walks of life. The Dalai Lama himself has chosen the text "The Jewel Lamp": A Praise of Bodhicitta" and it is one of his own personal favourites. The late Khunu Rinpoche author of "The Jewel Lamp" text is revered by Buddhists and said to have been a realised Buddhist saint, whose life and actions perfectly embodied the spiritual practice of compassion. He was considered a living master who even the Dalai Lama went to for instruction. The ideas and concepts will be examined and explained in the context of a contemporary world and how to live a happier and more compassionate life.
Public Talk in Sydney, Australia on June 16:
His Holiness will give a public talk on Ethical Mindfulness in Everyday Life in the afternoon at the Sydney Entertainment Centre. Contact Website: www.dalailamainaustralia.org
Public Talk in Melbourne, Australia on June 18
His Holiness will give a public talk on Compassion, the Foundation of Wellbeing in the afternoon at the Melbourne Convention Centre. Contact Website: www.dalailamainaustralia.org
Teaching in Melbourne, Australia on June 19
His Holiness will give a teaching on The Heart Sutra and Geshi Langri Thangpa's Eight Verses of Training the Mind at Quang Minh Temple, Braybrook, Melbourne. Contact Website: www.heartsutra2013.org.au
Public Talk in Adelaide, Australia on June 21
His Holiness will give a public talk on The Quest for Happiness in the afternoon at the Adelaide Convention Centre. Contact Website: www.dalailamainaustralia.org
Teaching in Darwin, Australia on June 23
His Holiness will give a teaching on The Four Noble Truths in the morning at the Darwin Convention Centre. Contact Website: www.dalailamainaustralia.org
Public Talk in Darwin, Australia on June 23
His Holiness will give a public talk on Ethics In Our Shared World in the afternoon at the Darwin Convention Centre. Contact Website: www.dalailamainaustralia.org
A number of high profile Australians have also joined in a unique promotional video called "One Voice" which promotes the 2013 visit.
Just some of those who appear in the video include 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans; multi Olympic and Commonwealth Games Gold Medal winner Dawn Fraser AO MBE; entertainer and recording artist Kamahl; designer Jenny Kee; chef Kylie Kwong; singer-songwriter Katie Noonan; singer Darren Percival; radio and TV personalities Mikey Robins, Julie McCrossin and Meshel Laurie, Collingwood star player Harry O'Brien; youth outreach worker Les Twentyman AO, Sydney Swans legend Brett Kirk; Didgeridoo player and indigenous artist Jeremy Donovan and actor Tyler Atkins.
For information about the visit, events and ticket prices, see www.dalailamainaustralia.org or phone Dalai Lama in Australia 02 9575 4888 - a free call within Australia.