There were illuminating responses - and a lot of laughter - as Hollywood stars turned out in force for a rare audience with the Dalai Lama.
Naomi Watts, Jeremy Renner, Lupita Nyong'o, Eva Longoria, Joshua Jackson, Christina Hendricks, Amber Heard, Kathy Bates and Rosario Dawson were among those who flocked to the California Science Center for a question and answer panel with the spiritual leader.
He arrived arm-in-arm with Sharon Stone, who introduced the guest speaker saying, "We have such incredible gratitude for all the goodness that you do."
Dressed in traditional saffron robes and a matching visor, the Dalai Lama – born Tenzi Gyatso in 1935 – offered ruminations on a number of serious topics, from faith to same-sex marriages. That's not to say there weren't light-hearted moments.
Escorted on stage by Larry King, he insisted that the former CNN host take the chair of honour, quipping, "I'm younger."
Larry King joined the Dalai Lama on stage during the Q&A session
Later, obliging a member of the audience who wanted to know the contents of his briefcase, the Tibetan spiritual leader revealed that it contained two mini Toblerones, a toothbrush, a thermometer, two pairs of glasses and a small sculpture of the Buddha.
"Can we see it?" Sharon asked. "No," he deadpanned.
Laughter also came courtesy of Jim Carrey, who was sat in the audience. After listening to the Dalai Lama speak about the need to adopt "a sense of oneness among seven billion human beings", and daring anyone to say otherwise, Jim playfully interjected, saying, "Well, I know a guy…"
The Dalai Lama showed observers the contents of his breifcase including a two toblerones and toothpaste
The event, which began with Eric Benet and David Foster leading the star-studded crowd in a sing-along version of What The World Needs Now Is Love, was organised by the Lourdes Foundation, a non-profit organisation with a mission to enact positive social change.
Afterwards, invitees headed backstage for a private audience with the Dalai Lama. "It was an exceptional afternoon," said Naomi Watts.
Naomi Watts and Sharon Stone chatted to The Dalai Lama after his Q&A session
"I'm lucky to be here, and I can't believe I'm here," Kathy Bates said. "I've followed the Tibetan people for years."