Dalai Lama Celebrates 76th Birthday in US

Posted July 6th, 2011 at 5:55 pm (UTC-5)
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The Dalai Lama has celebrated his 76th birthday in the United States at the start of an 11-day meditation ritual called the kalachakra.

The Tibetan spiritual leader addressed a crowd of thousands in Washington, DC Wednesday, saying he was proud this year to put into practice his belief in the separation of religion and politics. In March, he stepped down as the political leader of the India-based Tibetan government-in-exile.

The Dalai Lama arrived in the U.S. capital Tuesday for the kalachakra ritual, the first time it has been held in Washington. These days of meditation and teachings aim to inspire inner peace as a means of reducing conflict around the world.

He also is scheduled during this visit to hold high-level meetings with U.S. politicians.

No formal meeting has yet been scheduled with President Barack Obama. Their low-key meeting at the White House last year angered China, but analysts say Mr. Obama is likely at least to hold a quiet ceremonial meeting with the Tibetan spiritual leader on this trip.