I don't get why he attracts crowds. The religion he leads isn't very big and it isn't compatible with the Christian standards of the West. I find it dangerous when people of weak faith and who weren't reared in Christianity open themselves too much to the Dalai Lama because then they start promiting things like reincarnation. I've seen it happen so many times, people dabble in other foods in the buffets of religion, and they ignore the great, rich, fulfilling food already in front of them (how do you like my metaphor?). They end up abandoning the truths of their religion for the sake of, well, paganism.
John Safran did an interesting segment on how people perceive the Pope versus the Dalai Lama. You can see it here youtube.com/watch?v=kstH-8jwa80
Safran quotes teachings and has people guess if it comes from the Dalai Lama or the Pope. People always guessed incorrectly that the statement came from the Pope. Why? Because the Pope has the reputation of being a dinosaur and the Dalai Lama is considered hip. Hollywood would be more sympathetic to Dalai Lama than they would be to Benedict XVI, and often the media portrayals against the Holy Father are just downright dishonest (think of all the allegations of him being a Nazi). It's Pope No, Dalai Lama Yes.
The Dalai Lama is visiting where I am right now and he's getting a lot of good media attention and is attracting crowds, but really, would the people going to cheer him on even agree with what he teaches? I don't think so. And it's like this everywhere.
So it begs the question: why is the West so fascinated by the Dalai Lama? The only guess I can make is that some celebrities supported him, it got good media attention, so he won a lot of sympathy. But is that a good guess? Will the very short list of B and C actors really shoot Dalai Lama to celebrity status?