Dalai Lama Visits US for Birthday and Meditation

Posted July 5th, 2011 at 7:00 pm (UTC-5)
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Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader is in the United States for a birthday celebration and a 10-day prayer and meditation ritual.

The Dalai Lama arrived in the U.S. capital, Washington, DC, Tuesday afternoon. His visit also is expected to include high-level meetings with U.S. politicians, even though the spiritual leader formally retired from politics earlier this year.

This is the Dalai Lama’s first trip to the U.S. since he stepped down as the political leader of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

No formal meeting is scheduled with President Barack Obama. Their low-key meeting at the White House last year angered China.

Analysts say Mr. Obama is likely at least to hold a quiet ceremonial meeting with the Tibetan spiritual leader on this trip. Past presidents also have met with the Dalai Lama when he has visited the capital.

Either way, this visit is likely to again upset Beijing, which accuses the spiritual leader of advocating Tibet’s secession from China.

One expert told VOA it might be a good opportunity for Western countries to encourage China to forge a different relationship with the Dalai Lama, now that he has retired from his political role.