Dalai Lama celebrates 76th birthday in Washington

Dalai Lama

WASHINGTON: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama turns 76 today and the Nobel Laureate will celebrate his birthday offering words of wisdom to his followers and meeting US lawmakers here.

The Dalai Lama arrived here today on his first visit to the US after giving up his position as the political leader of the Tibetan government in exile.

He will attend the Kalachakra ceremony, a 10-day Buddhist ritual to pray for world peace during his visit here.

He will also meet some top US officials during his visit, including John Boehner, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, and Nancy Pelosi, the House Minority Leader, during his stay here.

But there was no word from the White House on whether US President Barack Obama would meet him as has been a tradition for the last few decades except once in 2009.

Obama did hold a quiet meeting with the Dalai Lama last year in the White House’s private residence to which China raised strong objections.

There was no meeting announcement from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as well.

However, the Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, Maria Otero, who is also designated as Special US Coordinator for Tibet met the Dalai Lama at the airport and also met him later in the day.

An Indian Embassy official was also present at the airport to receive the Tibetan leader.

Kalden Lodoe, president of Capital Area Tibetan Association, which is organizing the Kalachakra teachings, welcomed the Dalai Lama on behalf of the community.

His program for July 6 begins with preparatory prayers and a function to celebrate his 76th birthday. -PTI

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