The Dalai Lama visits Washington D.C. this week. His Holiness spoke at length in both English and Tibetan on Monday at American University’s Bender Arena on a Peaceful Mind in a Modern World.
Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi gave the opening speech praising His Holiness for his environmental awareness back in 1989 when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize.
Richard Gere quoted one of his favorite Japanese poems, “under the cherry blossom there are no strangers,” speaking on his friendship with his cherry blossom tree, the Dalai Lama.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, who will be celebrating his 81st birthday next month, spoke to young, old, exiled Tibetans, Western Buddhists, and many more of other faiths and backgrounds candidly on how to live a peaceful life. He emphasized the importance of language and education.
He addressed the audience first in English and then in Tibetan. A translator then summarized his remarks.
Afterward, His Holiness took questions ranging from medical issues, technology, and even pregnancy. Never dull, His Holiness is always sharp ready with a quick joke. When presented with how to raise a newborn in today’s society His Holiness quipped, “I don’t have experience in this… If my mother was still alive you’d have to ask her.”
His Holiness emphasized that the older generation has made a bit of a mess for the world leaving the young to clean up. Yet, our elders were once young presented with the same task. Most people look to leave the world a better place than when they came into it. “The generation of the 21st century is the basis of hope,” His Holiness said of the future torchbearers.
At the conclusion of his talk, His Holiness went down to the spectators to greet and speak with the laypeople. Hands reached out to touch, snap a photo or receive an autograph from the Tibetan Leader.
On Wednesday, His Holiness will meet with President Obama. This meeting has received traction from the Chinese government as China considers the Dalai Lama a separatist and encourages “separatist forces.”
The Chinese have always been critical of the United States when meeting with Tibetan delegates, Taiwan, or talks with other controversial allies. But when it comes to human rights issues, slave labor, the South China Sea, or cyber security the CCP is tight lipped. In any society there will always be hypocrisy.
In an article from India Live Today, “China describes the incorporation of Tibet into its territory in 1951 as a “peaceful liberation”, and says it has brought development to what was a backward region.” Is it for China to say Tibet was backward? What makes the region backward? Although China might view the take over of Tibet as “liberation”, many others would call it an invasion and conquering. Today, there has been little sign of the Han Chinese stopping the assimilation of Tibet.
It will be interesting how the friendship between not only President Obama, but also the future U.S. President and His Holiness develops. For now, the Dalai Lama called “Obama, “a long-time friend,” whom he admired for his work to normalize relations with Cuba, and on Iran, and for his recent visits to former U.S. foe Vietnam and Japan’s Hiroshima bombing site,” His Holiness told Reuters.