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What do His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama and Whoopi Goldberg have in common?

July 10, 2011

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” – HH XIV Dalai Lama

His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama

Answer: I saw them both yesterday morning on the Capitol West Lawn!

What an incredible, spontaneous to-do list item!  I found out about five days ago that His Holiness would be giving a peace lecture to the public to end his week-long tour of DC.  It was funny because that week I had seen a myriad of Buddhist monks on the metro but didn’t know for what.  This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I feel very blessed to have experienced!

My roommates (and I) and two friends who live across from us  got up and headed out fairly early to get good seats at the West Lawn of the US Capitol.  We waited two hours in the sun and heat but it was well worth it.  The throng of people in the audience were of all religious traditions, genders, races, and walks of life.  I watched over the course of those two hours the diversity of the people streaming in and sitting down in laughter and harmony with one another.

Buddhist MonksAt 9:30 a group of Buddhist monks delivered an eerie chant… if you’ve ever heard the Eskimo throat-singing rituals, it was a bit like that but somewhat more song like with more notes.  Truth be told, it kind of creeped me out– not necessarily in a bad way.. but even though I was so unfamiliar with that tradition, I wasn’t expecting anything like that.

After the chant a troupe of Buddhist dancers and instrumentalists performed a song (more along the lines of what I was expecting!) and dance that was very beautiful.  There’s nothing like the slow, elegant movements of Asian style dancing.  Everyone was entranced in the beauty of the visual harmony emanating from those performers. Performers

During the dance I noticed a group of suited men in sunglasses (how typical, lol) escorting an older looking man behind the stage.  I saw him for  a flash and then he disappeared.  The group had finished out came Skylar Grey.. the voice in P.Diddy’s newest song “I’m Coming Home”  (by the way he ruined that song she should have kept singing).  She sang beautifully but I couldn’t tell you the name of her song.

And then at long last, a voice came out and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Whoopi Goldberg.”


She’s not a Dalai Lama.

Yep, Whoopi Goldberg was the emcee for the event much to the surprise of many in the audience.  She really wasn’t on stage for long.  She announced that Desmond Tutu had a personal video to send to the DC audience that morning, and then she introduced the Dalai Lama.  But it was still cool to see her!  I feel like I’ve seen her once before in person.. hmm.. I’ll have to ask my parents about that one.

When the Dalai Lama came out, everyone stood up.  He stood at the foot of the stage and thanked everyone for coming out and embracing kindness and openness of the heart.  He told us that he didn’t like formality and never really prepared anything for when spoke to the public :]

His message was one that isn’t hard to believe– love, kindness, wisdom, diversity, acceptance, etc.  What made it unique was that he internalized everything.  He was funny, he was sincere, and he was real.  I’m very glad to have seen him, and it will definitely be a memory I will never forget.

Thanks for coming to speak to us, Your Holiness!

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