His journey began at age 2 when he was selected to lead his people by a group of Buddhist monks.
"He is the living Buddha. He's the embodiment of perfect compassion, perfect wisdom, perfect love. What could be any better than that?" said Ani Lhundub Jampa, a Buddhist nun at Deer Park Buddhist Center.
There are several opportunities this week to see the Dalai Lama. He is teaching at the Dane County Coliseum on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Tickets are still available at Ticketmaster or the Alliant Energy Center.
On Friday afternoon, the Dalai Lama is holding a public talk at the Kohl Center at 2:30 p.m., which is sold out.
On Tuesday night, local authorities completed final preparations for the Dalai Lama's much anticipated return.
The U.S. Department of State's Diplomat Security Division has been getting ready for this Madison visit for nearly a year, WISC-TV reported.
Some heavy security will follow the Dalai Lama during his visit. All local police agencies, especially the Dane County Sheriff's Department, Wisconsin State Patrol and University of Wisconsin-Madison police, are collaborating with the State Department on the visit.
Special Agent Kurt Rice of the Midwest Regional Office said that this is a non-standard visit for his agents, who typically handle security for heads of state.
He said the challenge is that the Dalai Lama isn't so much in danger, but is like a rock star in that many people try to reach out to touch him and make contact with him.
Rice said there are no plans to shut down the Beltline or roads when the Dalai Lama travels, but that some of the onramps might be temporarily closed until his motorcade passes by.
Those planning to see the Dalai Lama speak at either the Alliant Energy Center or Kohl Center will have to go through metal detectors and bag checks, WISC-TV reported.