This paper discusses the nature of official relations of the highest hierarchs of the Roman Catholic Church, and in particular the successive popes, with Buddhism and the Dalai Lama. The decisive events which began the inter-religious dialogue were the Second Vatican Council convened by Pope John XXIII and one of its crucial documents 'Nostra aetate'. The dialogue was continued by Pope Paul VI who was the first Bishop of Rome to meet with the Dalai Lama. During John Paul II's papacy the Dalai Lama and the Pope met ten times and the dialogue became more intense. It did, however, suffer a blow when in 1994 John Paul II's book-interview 'Crossing the Threshold of Hope' was published containing statements about Buddhism generally viewed as unjust and simplified.