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Dalai Lama turns 76 in Washington, will meet with congressional leaders
The Dalai Lama in Washington on Wednesday.
July 6th, 2011
09:30 PM ET

Dalai Lama turns 76 in Washington, will meet with congressional leaders

By Ana Sebescen, for CNN

Thousands of well-wishers sang "Happy Birthday" Wednesday to the Dalai Lama, who turned 76 at the beginning of an 11-day visit to the capital on which he will meet with top congressional leaders.

So far, the White House has remained silent on a potential meeting between the Tibetan spiritual leader and President Obama

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has invited the Dalai Lama to the Capitol on Thursday to meet with congressional leaders, his office announced Wednesday. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will be among those attending.

Obama met with the Dalai Lama in Washington in February 2010, triggering a rebuke from China, which considers the Dalai Lama the leader of a separatist movement.

"I always say, the best gift to me is to practice compassion," said the Dalai Lama said Wednesday. He urged the crowd to search for happiness within and promote non-violence, compassion and equality around the world.

The term "Dalai Lama" is a Tibetan Buddhist religious title. Under Buddhist teachings, the title is given to those who are the reincarnations of a lineage of religious teachers. The current Dalai Lama is considered the 14th in this line.

Wednesday's festivities marked the start of the Dalai Lama's visit, during which he will confer a special blessing and ancient Buddhist teachings.

"Rich, poor, believer, non-believer - no difference. We are all the same," the Dalai Lama said.

Guests to the birthday celebration included Arun Gandhi, the grandson of the late Indian spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King III, the son of assassinated civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Gandhi echoed the Dalai Lama's call to work toward ending both "physical" and "non-physical" violence.

"I invite all of you to pledge today as a birthday gift to his holiness that we will no longer hate, that we will no longer discriminate, we will no longer be greedy and that we will always respect each other irrespective of religion or philosophical outlook," said Gandhi.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who espoused non-violence in an effort to end South Africa's apartheid system, also joined in the celebration via a video message.

While acknowledging that spreading justice and peace is "an enormous task," Tutu praised the Dalai Lama's efforts.

While in Washington, the Nobel Peace laureate, along with Namgyal Monastery monks and senior lamas, will enact a Tibetan Buddhist ritual by chanting prayers and creating a Kalachakra sand mandala, a detailed Buddhist sand art ritual created as a symbolic blessing of the Earth.

"Kalachakra is a promise of Buddha that he will stick with us so that we can attain Nirvana," said Tenzing Norbu, a Tibetan immigrant who attended Wednesday's celebration.

The Dalai Lama fled to into exile after China's invasion of Tibet in 1949. He established a democratic exile government in Dharamsala, northern India. This year, in May, he gave up his political role, but remained Tibet's leading spiritual leader.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Asia • Buddhism • China • India • Tibet • Uncategorized

soundoff (79 Responses)
  1. BauerAndrea

    I paid $32.67 for a XBOX 360 and my mom got a 17 inch Toshiba laptop for $94.83 being delivered to our house tomorrow by FedEX. I will never again pay expensive retail prices at stores. I even sold a 46 inch HDTV to my boss for $650 and it only cost me $52.78 to get. Here is the website we using to get all this stuff, GuruBids.com

    July 17, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  2. LODUP

    བོད་ཁ་བ་གངས་ཅན་པ་རྒྱལ་གྱུར་ཅིག། གོང་ས་སྐྱབས་མགོན་ཆེན་པ་མཆོག་སྐུ་ཚེ་ཁྲི་ལོར་བརྟན་པ་དང་ཐུགས་བཞེད་ལྷུན་གྱི་འགྲུབ་པར་སྨོན།། བོད་རྒྱལ་ལོ།

    NO NEED TO WORRY, DALAI LAMA NEVER ASK U TO CONVER INTO BUDDHISM, THATS CLEAR, WE BUDDHST NO NEED TO MORE PUBPULATIONS, IF BUDDHSIM IS NOT USEFUL, BUT I THINK ITS USFUL FOR SPECIALLY DEVELOPED COUNTRIES, COZ PEOPLE LIVING DEVELOPED SOCIETIES, THEY HAVING MORE INNER SUFFERING, AND THEY DONT KNOW EVEN WHAT IS INNER HAPPINESS, DALAI LAMA TALK INNER HAPPINESS TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR WORLD PEACE AND PEACE ON EARTH, NOT FOR BUDDHISM COMMUNITY.

    AND OFCOURSE DALAI LAMA ALWAYS TALK ABOUT TIBETAN PEOPLES ISSUE, HE IS OUR SPIRITUAL LEADER, WE 6BILLION TIBETAN LIVING ON THIS PLANET, WE BELIEVE HIM, TRUEST HIM, LESTN HIM,
    WHATEVER HOW MACHU THIS CRAZY WORLD GETTING CHANGING, WE TIBETANS, WILL NEVER GO NA GIVE UP, WETHER WE HAVE SOMETHING POWER OR NOT, BUT WE HAVE TRUTH POWER, ONE DAY IT WILL WORK WITH US, THATS WE BELIEVE,
    ONE DAY CHINA WILL CHANGED, ONE DAY AMERICA WILL CHANGE, ONE DAY EUROPE WILL CHANGED, ONE DAY EVERYWHERE WILL CHANGED, AND TIBET WILL BE CHANGED TOO.
    BOD-GYAL-LO
    FREE TIBET.

    July 12, 2011 at 6:58 am |
  3. AvdBerg

    The following is an excerpt of the article Who is God and who is Satan? listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    “The Dalai Lama also claims to be a so-called spiritual leader but he also does not know what spirit he is of, as he walks according to the spirit of this world, and unless he repents, he will remain spiritually blind.

    So it is with all other religious leaders of this world. They do not know what spirit they are of (Luke 9:55) and lead all their members astray.”

    All of the other pages and article listed on our website explain how this whole world has been deceived as confirmed in Revelation 12:9.

    July 9, 2011 at 10:11 am |
  4. Sam

    Went there after volunteering today, security guard said observation was closed due to it being his birthday was kind of sad but I'm going back tomorrow, I'm buying my first wrist mala from the vendors that follow him around the world 🙂

    July 8, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
  5. DiamondSky

    @Myweightinwords, I replied you in the former page, so read them. Myw-, if you feel guilty and cannot do anything about it, it's the best and utterly natural thing. Don't supress your guilt, confess your sins to God, believe in Jesus and be saved, forsaking your present sinful lifestyles altogether. Read the Bible and study your national anthem(all existing verses).

    July 8, 2011 at 5:46 am |
  6. John

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGSvqMBj-ig&w=640&h=360]
    b

    July 8, 2011 at 3:59 am |
    • ....

      don't bother viewing this garbage click on the report abuse link to get rid of this troll

      July 8, 2011 at 11:04 am |
  7. kigol

    Tibet is not Red China....Chinese culture is far different from Tibetan culture. Tibetan could hardly speak and act like Chinese. Chinese' filling of tons of golds to Tibetan's temple is not a reason for annexation by China.... Tibetans needs freedom- freedom from oppression. Tibet is a country just like " Vatican without an army"...."Old China" never includes Tibet as their territory

    July 7, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
  8. Damian C.

    The flowing robes, the grace, bald head........striking!

    July 7, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
    • News Flash

      Why thank you. Just call me, umm.......................................holiness.

      July 8, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  9. johnny

    To all you Christians out there, we don't need you to save us , if going to heaven is to be surrounded by ignorant and judgmental people like you .I rather be in hell, keep your opinion to yourself no one cares. What makes your beliefs better or any more correct than other peoples beliefs?. How do you explain evolution if supposedly your god created man ?Why are you reading the news about the dalai lama anyways ,planning on converting him?

    July 7, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No. Most of us don't have any desire to convert anyone. You must be referring to idiots like DiamondSky/Adelina/Justina, the moronic troll who frequents these threads. Just ignore her; she's an idiot.

      July 8, 2011 at 12:03 am |
    • DiamondSky

      Johnny, you don't know what's best for you. You need the Christian witnesses until the end of the world. The nation you are living was created by Christians. God's Word speaks out the Truth you need, so you must listen as His creature.

      July 8, 2011 at 4:51 am |
  10. jon

    There's a story about the Buddha... once two religious philosophers came into his prescence to debate the merits of two radically different spiritualities. The first claimed that God is everywhere and everything, and was the only path to freedom and enlightenment. The second was a nihilist, determined that there was no soul and no God. The two battled against eachother for days in front of the Buddha. Finally, exhausted after spewing rhetoric and hate at eachother, the philosophers asked the Buddha who was correct... but the Buddha said nothing! They left the Buddha, convinced he was a deaf, mute, idiot. Later, when one of the monks asked the Buddha about the silence, the Buddha replied: " would have corrected both from their wrong views, but since they were so firmly entrenched in their respective concepts, I would have been wasting my breath."

    July 7, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.