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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Hello, Dalai!

May 8, 2009

May 6, 2009

The Dalai Lama made his first ever visit to the state Capitol this
morning and delivered the invocation in the Senate chamber, urging
lawmakers to do their jobs with "honesty," "respect" and, most of all,

Word of his impending visit came last night from the Senate Democrats'
press office, which distributed a handy tip sheet Dalai Lama protocol:

(Do refer to him as "Your Holiness" or "His Holiness" in the third
person, don't provide him with anything other than boiled mineral water
as a refreshment, "you do not need to do anything special regarding eye
contact," he likes to refer to himself as "just a simple Buddhist monk").

His Holiness is in Albany on a trip that was supposed to take place last
month but had to be rescheduled due to negative publicity connected to
the sponsoring organization.

The Dalai Lama arrived on the Third Floor of the Capitol with his
entourage and security detail in tow. He met briefly with Senate
Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, receiving a white silk scarf (known as a
Kata) from him and then draping it around the senator's neck. His
Holiness repeated this ritual with a number of lawmakers and staffers.

During the invocation, the Dalai Lama said he wanted to "show my deepest
respect for American values: Liberty, justice democracy." He also said
compassion should be the highest ideal to which all people - elected
officials and otherwise - should strive, even when dealing with terrorists.

In greeting His Holiness, Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos said:

    "We have a wonderful democratic process here in this country. Some
days it's a little less democratic than others. You protect the
interests of minorities in Tibet. Certainly, we ask that you pray for
this minority."

The Dalai Lama said that given his background, his habit is to "side
with the minority," and thus "my sympathy is more with (the) Republican

The entire chamber broke out in laughter. The Senate Republicans gave
His Holiness a standing ovation, while he smiled, waved his hand and
said: "That's a joke - not serious."

Later, he quipped that he didn't know if he he would choose to join
either the Republicans or the Democrats or simply "start a new party."

Joked Sen. Kevin Parker, who was wearing a Kata around his neck: "If he
creates his own party, we're all going to join it."

Read more: "The Daily Politics - NY Daily News" -
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