About two-thousand people gathered in a field in Woodstock in the northeastern U.S. state of New York this week for a surprise appearance by the Dalai Lama.
The gathering on Thursday coincided with the International Day of Peace. It was publicized only by word of mouth, because of security concerns. Metal detectors and bomb-sniffing dogs were on hand for added safety.
Audience members, mostly locals, told reporters they were pleased with the Tibetan Buddhist leader's unexpected visit and his message calling for peace, compassion and simple living. Many waited in the sun for hours before he appeared on the outdoor stage.
The Buddhist leader made the stop while in New York between visits to the University of Buffalo and a Buddhist monastery.
The Dalai Lama arrived in North America earlier this month, first stopping in Canada.