The 14th Dalai Lama, the exiled Buddhist spiritual leader of Tibet, opened the U.S. Senate session on March 6 with a prayer, which Senate Historian Don Ritchie believes to be a first for a Buddhist.
Also known as Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama, 78, spoke first in the Tibetan language, then in English. "With our thoughts we make our world," the prayer began. "Our mind is central and precedes our deeds. Speak or act with a pure mind and happiness will follow you like a shadow that never leaves."
Guest chaplains occasionally open the House and Senate chambers. Other notables, according to Wikipedia:
- James Kirkland, first African-American, 1965.
- Wilmina Rowland, first woman, 1971.
- Wallace Mohammed, first Muslim, 1992.
- Rajan Zed, first Hindu, 2007.
The Dalai Lama's closing line: "As long as space remains and as long as beings serve humanity, until then may I, too, remain and help dispel the misery of the world."
Image: YouTube/Office of Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
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