Washington, DC: Clad in yellow and red robes, a small group of Tibetan Buddhist monks chanted invocation prayers in front of a packed West Lawn of the National Mall, in the nation’s capital. A crowd of many thousands of well-wishers, admirers and believers had assembled to hear His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet, who is in town for the ten-day Kalachakra ‘Wheel of Time’ teachings, give the Public Talk on World Peace.
Facing the audience in front of the US Capitol Building, His Holiness captivated the crowd with his trademark sense of humor and his simple, yet profound message of peace and harmony. Calling too much formality a barrier, His Holiness said he rarely prepares for such public talks. He prefers to speak spontaneously.
“I think it was a day of pride and joy and hope for all Tibetans,” remarked Dr. Lobsang Sangay, Prime Minister Elect of the Tibetan people who received His Holiness onstage along with Gyalwa Karmapa and Mr. Penpa Tsering, Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament. “The turnout of thousands of people, clearly delighted to be at His Holiness’s public talk in the capital, indicates the enduring support for Tibet and Tibetans among the American people.”
His Holiness’s speech today centered on cultivation of inner peace and warm-heartedness. His Holiness said he had two commitments: promotion of inner peace and promotion of religious harmony. He warned the audience of the futility of seeking peace from outside, emphasising inner peace as the only foundation for lasting happiness. He also stated his firm belief that religious harmony can be achieved through closer understanding of other faiths.
Highlighting the significance of inner peace, he recalled the more difficult years of his life saying, “I lost my own freedom at age 16. I lost my country at age 24.” He credited cultivation of inner peace as a source of mental strength through those difficult years and added, “It is quite clear that despite difficulty, we can keep peace of mind.”
When His Holiness was asked if he saw himself returning to Tibet, he immediately answered, “Oh yes!” He said there has been tremendous change in China compared to four or five decades ago. He pointed out that even China’s Premier Wen Jiabo, has repeatedly called for political reform in China.
Whoopi Goldberg, an Academy Award-winning actress and a talk show host, was Emcee for the public talk. Skyler Grey, a young and popular American singer, performed a moving song titled “I’m coming home” in dedication to His Holiness.
The Capital Area Tibetan Association, organiser of the Kalachakra teachings, also organised the public talk.