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How to Greet a Tibetan Buddhist Monk

Updated April 17, 2017

One of the most popular religions in the world is Buddhism. A central location for many Buddhists is Tibet where the Dalai Lama lives. He is the leader of the Yellow Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism. A Lama or Geshe is a follower that has attained the highest teaching degree of the order. Tibetan Lamas don't shake hands but instead raise their right hand as they greet you similar to a Christian priest raising his hand to bless you. Because Buddhism is not as popular in the West, most are uncertain how to greet a Tibetan Buddhist monk.

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  1. Place your hands together over your heart to greet a Buddhist monk and bow your head in greeting. If you were referring to a monk, you would call them Gen, which means master, senior or teacher. The term is one of respect for a monk.

  2. Say "Tashi Deley" when greeting a monk. The term means auspicious and good health and is the traditional greeting given to monks and nuns.

  3. Take a Khata or white scarf with you when you meet a monk. The Khata is a symbol of purity and the length signifies a long life. Every time you pass or greet a Lama, you should place your hands together over your heart and bow your head saying "Tashi Deley".

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About the Author

Sean Lancaster has been a freelance writer since 2007. He has written for Writers Research Group, Alexis Writing and the Lebanon Chamber of Commerce. Lancaster holds a Doctor of Philosophy in chemistry from the University of Washington.

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