Sure, Whoopi Goldberg has played a spiritual leader or two in her day --as Catholic nun Sister Mary Clarence in “Sister Act” and as psychic medium in “Ghost” — but she will perform perhaps her most unexpected role on Saturday morning as she adds a bit of Hollywood glamour to an ancient world faith. Goldberg will emcee the Dalai Lama’s “A Talk for World Peace” at the U.S. Capitol, a feature event of his Buddhist Kalachakra festival.
A statement announcing Goldberg’s role at the event noted, “In addition to her many accomplishments as a performer, author and producer, she is equally well-known for her charitable and humanitarian efforts around the world.”
But Goldberg isn’t known for being particularly public with her own religious convictions. “My family is Jewish, Buddhist, Baptist and Catholic. I don’t believe in man-made religions,” Goldberg told People Magazine. (The Dalai Lama may not either.. Read On Faith’s recent coverage of God without religion here.)
Was Richard Gere, one of the world’s most prominent Buddhists, not available? Tiger Woods too much of a branding risk? Keanu Reeves busy?
More On Faith and the Kalachakra:
Matteo Pistono, author of recently released “In the Shadow of the Buddha: Secret Journeys, Sacred Histories, and Spiritual Discovery in Tibet,” will be contributing to On Faith during the Dalai Lama’s visit to Washington D.C., and tweeting from the Verizon center (Twitter:@matteopistono).
For the full story on events during Kalachakra, read Post reporter Michelle Boorstein’s piece on what to expect and what it all means.
View a photo gallery of the Dalai Lama’s life and his global travels.
Read Buddhist author Matteo Pistono’s reflection on the question, Who is the Dalai Lama?
View a graphic explaining the Kalachakra ritual.