The Dalai Lama met with Speaker of the House John Boehner (R) and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) today at the Capitol.
“We appreciate that the Dalai Lama is taking time to speak with us about how we can spread our values... Not just in Tibet and China but in the Middle East as well,” Boehner said.
Lobsang Sangay, prime minister-elect of the Tibetan government-in-exile said yesterday outside the Kalachakra festival in downtown Washington, D.C., that he hoped the meeting would bring “a little bit of positive Karma” to the Capitol and to officials on the Hill. Sangay was present at a press event for the meeting today.
“In Congress, our commitment to the Tibetan people has always brought the two parties together,” Boehner said, referencing the Tibetan struggle for autonomy with China. “And I expect it will continue no matter how long it takes.”
Pelosi also noted that the Tibetan and Chinese conflict has brought Democratic and Republican parties together for decades.
The U.S. relationship with the Dalai Lama dates back to Franklin D Roosevelt’s presidency, when the Dalai Lama was a young boy, Pelosi recounted. The Buddhist leader celebrated his 76th birthday Wednesday.
The Dalai Lama spoke also about his reasons from retiring from politics, a topic he mentioned Wednesday in a speech at the Verizon Center.
He called his previous dual roles as both a religious and political leader “hypocrisy,” (he has long been an advocate of the separation of church and state,) and said that he intends to now focus on promoting harmony as a spiritual leader.
The White House has made no announcement as to whether or not President Obama will meet with the Tibetan leader. The Chinese government, which views the Tibetan leader as a political rebel, has warned against it.
Follow more coverage from On Faith on the Dalai Lama with our Twitter feed or related stories, linked below.
For the full story on events during Kalachakra, read Post reporter Michelle Boorstein’s piece on what to expect and what it all means.
Read Buddhist author Matteo Pistono’s reflection on the question, Who is the Dalai Lama?
Read, What is the Kalachakra?