ROCHESTER, Minn. -- The Dalai Lama greeted dozens of followers who waited outside a civic centre in Minnesota for a chance to see the Tibetan spiritual leader.

Security guards surrounded the Dalai Lama as he emerged from his vehicle Wednesday and called the group over to him, touching their hands and blessing them.

"It means the world to us," said Dorjee Damdul of Minneapolis. The Dalai Lama looked happy and healthy, she added.

"He is our religious leader," said Damdul. "We follow his guidance. ... He touched our faces. It was a blessing."

Damdul's 8-year-old daughter, Pema, was equally thrilled.

"It's really special because he's like our president," she said.

The Dalai Lama, 80, was earlier discharged from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester where doctors instructed him to rest. As a result, he cancelled his U.S. appearances for October.

Hundreds of others people passed through security and into the Mayo Civic Center where they waited for the Dalai Lama's private address, according to the Post-Bulletin.

"He's my spiritual leader and a living God," said Tenzin Lungtok of Minneapolis. "I'm here to receive his blessings."

The Dalai Lama has made regular visits to the Mayo Clinic in past years for routine checkups.