This past Sunday, I had the privilege of attending a birthday party for the honorableand excellent Dali Lama, who had turned 79 on July 3. This party was held at a local Tibetan Buddhist temple and I was lucky to be invited. Actually, the person invited was a friend of mine. She was able to extend the invite to me as well and I was happy to go along. It was a real treat to see people in the town where I lived celebrating so venerable a person. The experience made me very aware of how many things spiritual and social rites have in common — even when they look a little exotic.