Richard Gere and the Dalai Lama greeted the public in Pisa, Italy, together.

RICHARD GERE & THE DALAI LAMA IN ITALY

The actor has been practicing Buddhism for decades, and has been a follower of the Dalai Lama. “My first encounter with Buddhist dharma would be in my early twenties. I think like most young men I was not particularly happy. I don’t know if I was suicidal, but I was pretty unhappy, and I had questions like, ‘Why anything?'” Gere said in a 1999 interview with Lion’s Roar. “Realizing I was probably pushing the edges of my own sanity, I was exploring late-night bookshops reading everything I could, in many different directions. Evans-Wentz’s books on Tibetan Buddhism had an enormous impact on me. I just devoured them… His Holiness says that what we all have in common is an appreciation of kindness and compassion; all the religions have this. Love. We all lean towards love.”

Gere attended an event promoted by Pisa for guests to meet the Dalai Lama, whom Gere had met before. The actor arrived a few minutes before the ceremony began and sat in the front row. The Dalai Lama then arrived and greeted the more than 3,000 people who appeared.

The Dalai Lama gave a speech to the crowd about happiness and humanity in the 21st century. “We live in the century of advanced technologies that have improved society but we have to wonder whether humanity is happier or not?” he pondered. “I, as many of the present are from the twentieth century but you are the generation of the 21st century and you have the chance to build a century of peace , so please do not copy the ways of the previous century.”