My guide and I meet the new Deputy Secretary for Communications and International Affairs. He is very gracious and offers to show us the Parliament Building and to introduce us to Lhakdor, the new director of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives. We have a good discussion on digital libraries and what he’s up to there. But every now and then he pauses and asks us “What questions to you have for me?” Since we’ve been asking all kinds of questions about the Archives, scanning and access. James asked about the various web opportunities.

As we left, he asked us “What about your questions about Buddhism?” I turned to my guide, who is a devoted Buddhist. He looked blank. I made a little Zen joke and said “I know nothing about Buddhism.” No one got it.

Later I kicked myself. What a missed opportunity! I tried to come up with a worthy Buddhist question, but I kept coming up empty.

Finally I tried one out on my guide. Why is there an eightfold path? Why not seven or nine? My guide was kind but it was obvious that he thought this was a pretty dumb question.