02 July 2011
The Dalai Lama stepped down as Tibet’s political leader this year, to focus on being “a simple Buddhist monk,” and to support the creation of a more democratic government in exile for his Tibetan people. For ten days he led the Buddhist Kalachakra teachings in Washington, DC, which includes sacred Tibetan dance, and the intricate painstaking creation of a sand mandala. As a symbol of Buddhist impermanence the mandala, upon completion, was then dumped in the Potomac River.
On July 5 there were singing and dancing celebrations by Tibetans all over the world in commemoration of the Dalai Lama’s 76th birthday. On July 9, His Holiness was introduced by Whoopi Goldberg, as he gave a heartfelt talk on compassion to hundreds of followers on the Capitol lawn.
Even the Karmapa Lama attended, a revered lama I have visited many times since he was a young child residing in a remote monastery in Tibet until his escape in 2000. Having photographed the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan culture both inside and outside of Tibet for more than 25 years, I was honored to have my images shown on the jumbotron for the events.