Washington DC: On his last full day of stay in Washington, D.C. during this visit, His Holiness the Dalai Lama first bestowed the longevity of White Tara to the people. Thereafter, a long life prayer was conducted for His Holiness the Dalai Lama by the organizers of the teachings. Kalon Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche recited the attributes of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, his contribution to humanity and the recognition he has been receiving from the international community.
At the conclusion of the long life offering, His Holiness, in his remarks, appreciated the gesture. He said that from the spiritual perspective, the Teacher’s life has some connection with the aspiration and trust of the students. He said that the past several days of interaction between him and the attendees have developed some connection and warm feeling. He said that this thus had some connection with the Teacher’s life
His Holiness reminded the attendees that his favorite prayer was that of Shantideva: “For as long as space endures, and for as long as living beings remain, until then may I too abide to dispel the misery of the world.” He added that some people do seem to benefit from interaction with him. He said that he therefore gets the determination to live long. Telling the people that he enjoyed good physical health, His Holiness recalled his physician calling him a young patient despite being 76 years old.
His Holiness appreciated the serious attention that the attendees seem to be paying during the teachings. He said that a few days’ teachings mean nothing from the long term view. He therefore urged the people to make effort to make life more meaningful. He said irrespective of whether one believes in the next life or not, it was important to lead a good life. He said the purpose of life should be to make it meaningful and compassionate.
His Holiness then said that from the mysterious life point of view, the spiritual imprint on account of the connections established during this teaching will be there not just life after life, but also aeons after aeons. He added that he will always remember the people.
Calling himself as being just one among the human beings on this earth, His Holiness said that a happy life for an individual depends on the entire world. He therefore said that everyone needed to have serious at the global level to make this world a better place.
Thereafter, Garchen Rinpoche presented to His Holiness a copy of the English edition of Drikung Chetsang Rinpoche’s history of the Emperors of Tibet.
Following this, Mr. Kalden Lodoe, President of Capital Area Tibetan Association, which is the organizer of the teachings, gave his concluding remarks. He said that through this event they had wanted to generate positive forces of compassion and harmony at a time of many global conflicts as well as calamities caused by nature. He added that whatever virtues have been accumulated through the organization of this event was being dedicated for the wellbeing of all sentient beings, and in particular, the people and the nation of the United States. He said, “May the seed of compassion and love that Your Holiness has planted through this series of teachings continue to grow in each and every one of us as we go to our respective places so that the world becomes a better place for us all.
He then informed His Holiness and the gathering that due to an overwhelming response from the public, the ticket sales exceeded all expectations as also donations, both financial and in-service donations, poured in from hundreds of devotees. Therefore, based on initial financial estimate, he said the income was $5.99 million and the expenses were $4.04 resulting in an approximate surplus of $1.95 million. Out of this, as per the directions from the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, he said an amount of $500,000 has been earmarked for a proposed Centre for Tibetan and Buddhist Studies located in Toronto, Canada. Dedicated to critical and in-depth engagement in Buddhist studies as well as classical Tibetan studies on the North American continent, the Centre will provide all visitors with an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of classical Tibetan culture, knowledge and philosophical traditions. In April 2010 the Government of Canada agreed to give a matching grant for the establishment of the Tibetan Canadian Cultural Centre, which will house the Centre for Tibetan and Buddhist Studies. He said that the deadline for raising the matching funds ends in October of this year leaving the Toronto Tibetan community with very little time to raise the needed funds. This gift will help to realize the eventual establishment of the proposed Centre for Tibetan and Buddhist Studies, and at the same time, allow the Tibetan Canadian Cultural Centre to receive the Government of Canada’s generous matching grant.
He said after close consultation between the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the organizing committee of the Kalachakra for World Peace 2011, and the Capital Area Tibetan Association, the remaining funds would be distributed in three categories:
Thirty per cent will be distributed among local, national and international charitable and humanitarian causes. Among the selected international causes include efforts to alleviate the ongoing hunger crisis being faced in East African countries and the Tsunami Relief Effort in Japan. In Washington, local charities that are being selected include those that are dedicated to helping the homeless, the Booker T. Washington Public Charter School for the Technical Arts, the Humane Society. His Holiness visited the Booker T. Washington School in November 2005 and was greatly impressed by the dedication of the students, the majority of whom come from underprivileged backgrounds.
Another thirty per cent will be allocated to the Capital Area Tibetan Association to be utilized as seed money for all community related educational and cultural projects.
Forty per cent will be earmarked for The Dalai Lama Trust, which was founded in 2009 by His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama. A non-profit charitable organization registered in the state of New York, the Trust is funded by charitable contributions made by its founder and by the general public. The Trust was established to support the advancement and welfare of the Tibetan people, and the promotion of Tibetan culture and heritage as well as the deep-rooted values associated with its culture and people. Among its activities, the Dalai Lama Trust supports the preservation of Tibetan culture and the development of leadership and educational opportunities for young Tibetans. Along with providing relief and assistance to underserved communities, the Trust also seeks to support initiatives that encourage a sense of universal responsibility in the global community, and the advancement of dialogue between science and spirituality.
A program to honor Kalon Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche on behalf of the Tibetans in North America followed this. Representative Lobsang Nyandak Zayul, in his introductory remarks, mentioned the resolution of the North American Tibetan Associations to present an award to Samdhong Rinpoche “for his selfless dedication in serving the Tibetan nation.” In addition to the award, he said that the North American Tibetan Association have also decided to establish a “Samdhong Rinpoche Scholarship Award” to aid five outstanding Tibetans in India pursuing PhD studies. He mentioned that the Associations have made a contribution of $ 29, 882, which will be provided to the Tibetan Department of Education for this scholarship.
The North American members of the Tibetan Parliament, Mr. Norbu Tsering and Ms. Dicky Choyang, then read out the award statements in Tibetan and English respectively.
The award, “A Leader of Innovation and Reform,” was then presented to Kalon Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche.
His Holiness then left for the White House where he had around 45 minutes of meeting with President Barrack Obama. The President introduced his two daughters to His Holiness before the discussions began. See separate report on the meeting below.
After lunch, His Holiness gave an interview to TV anchorwoman Ann Curry of NBC. His Holiness answered questions about his meeting with President Obama, about his future reincarnation, and about Tibetan-Chinese dialogue, etc. This program will be telecast on the Today show on Monday, July 18.
Thereafter, His Holiness went to the Verizon Center to lead the ritual dismantling of the Kalachakra Sand Mandala, a portion of which was poured into the Anacostia River at the Yards Park in South East Washington, D.C. Tibetan Buddhists believe that the pouring of the sacred sand into the river will also bless it. His Holiness returned to the Verizon to do the concluding prayers before returning to his hotel.
His Holiness departs from Washington, D.C. on July 17, 2011 for Chicago for a two-day program on “Bridging the Faith Divide” organised by the Theosophical Society. The programs will be webcast on http://iclips.net/watch/dalai-lama-public-talk.