Dalai Lama receives highest honor from the US
In the early 1940s, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt gave a very young Dalai Lama a gold watch that marked the phases of the moon and the days of the week. Over sixty years later, President George Bush gave the Dalai Lama a Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by the U.S. Congress. His Holiness laughingly held out his wrist to Bush, tapping on the admired watch carried into exile.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her Congressional colleagues publicly urged China to invite the Dalai Lama to Beijing for substantive discussions, and told the Dalai Lama “You bring a challenge to the conscience of the world and today you bring peace to the capitol of the United States.”In a very rare public unity, both the Democratic and Republican leaders of the Senate and House voiced public support for His Holiness and strongly criticized China’s actions in the ceremony that marked the first time a U.S. president appeared publicly with the Dalai Lama (all previous meetings with U.S. presidents were held privately behind closed doors). Top leaders emphasized the Dalai Lama’s humble beginnings, humanitarian achievements and long American support.
The Dalai Lama, chuckling as he stumbled over his remarks in English, said the award will bring “tremendous joy and encouragement to the Tibetan people,” and he thanked Bush for his “firm stand on religious freedom and democracy”. His Holiness gently urged China to embrace “transparency, the rule of law and freedom of information”.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche attended the ceremony as a special guest of the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), and then escorted His Holiness and Speaker Pelosi down the long marble steps of the west lawn of the Capitol to the public event stage for a public talk broadcast on large monitors. The program was transmitted live into Tibet…
This article is an excerpt of the full article printed in Mandala