His Holiness the Dalai Lama Goes to Washington

Amy Levin talks to Robert Barnett about HHDL’s visit.

Prayer flags and American flags are flying side by side as His Holiness the Dalai Lama (HHDL) continues his second week of the Kalachakra, a festival for “world peace,” from July 6-16 in our nation’s capital. The calendar of events began with a celebration of the Dalai Lama’s 76th birthday, followed each day by prayers, dances, daily teachings, and various rituals. The main highlight and most populated event of the festival was a historic “Talk for World Peace,” given by the Lama himself. Sharing the microphone with emcee Whoopi Goldberg, the Dalai Lama addressed as many as 20,000 people who made the pilgrimage to Capitol Hill for the three-hour outdoor event complete with chanting, dancing, and music in addition to the hour and a half speech.

While most Kalachakra attendees spent their $500 to consume priceless messages of inner peace, liberation, and selflessness, there was another mantra brewing – this one given to a different crowd of devotees. On Thursday, July 7th, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R) and former speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) welcomed His Holiness to Capitol Hill to advise the US on how to spread values of peace and democracy to various nations.

Meetings of good faith between HHDL and US public officials, including presidents, are quite a ritual, but something was different this time around – during this visit, the Dalai Lama no longer holds any formal political power. Just this past March, His Holiness announced his decision to “relinquish his last remaining political powers.” Continue Reading →