The Dalai Lama, the Nobel Prize-winning leader of Tibetans in exile, will give an address titled “A Talk For World Peace” at the Capitol building next month when he travels to Washington.
Hosted by the Capital Area Tibetan Association, the talk is set for July 9 at 9:30 a.m., and will be free to the public of all faiths, according to an announcement of the Dalai Lama’s visit to Washington. Public access to the West Lawn of the Capitol will open at 7 a.m.
The Dalai Lama travels to Washington frequently, and this 11-day visit is to kick off on July 6, the Tibetan’s 76th birthday.
The Dalai Lama’s visits to Washington usually raise the ire of Chinese officials, who view the Dalai Lama as an enemy of the state for his efforts on behalf of the rights and autonomy of the Tibetan people. China forcibly invaded Tibet in 1950 and has occupied the country ever since, often with a high degree of repression and human-rights violations.
The Dalai Lama was received lavishly by high-ranking U.S. officials in 2007, when he received the the Congressional Gold Medal.
Unlike many of his past visits to the capital — in which the Dalai Lama has met with various U.S. presidents — this coming trip will be largely spiritual.
He plans to confer the Kalachakra for World Peace ritual at the Verizon Center, a large public-events facility in Washington.
He has given the Kalachakra teachings to more than 1.5 million people around the world. This will be the 31st time he has given the Kalachakra empowerments since initiating the Kalachakra gatherings in 1954. It is of particular significance that it is being held in the nation’s capital, seen as the leading hub of the free world where local decisions deeply and globally affect an incalculable numbers of lives.
“The Kalachakra is a rare opportunity to promote the universal values of peace and tolerance, so urgently needed in today’s world,” the announcement of the event says.
The 11-day event launches on July 6, with the Dalai Lama, along with monks and senior Buddhist teachers, conducting rituals which prepare and consecrate the venue during the first seven days. These include the chanting of prayers and the creation of the sand mandala. The making of the exquisite, colorful Kalachakra sand mandala by the monks of Namgyal Monastery, the Dalai Lama’s personal monastery, is one of the most inspiring visual experiences of the Kalachakra. The detailed work of sacred art is executed with utmost precision, truly a sight to behold.
More information about the entire event is available online.
Scott Nance is the editor and publisher of the news site The Washington Current. He has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.