Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, arrived in Washington D.C. to celebrate his birthday and guide followers of Tibetan Buddhism in a 10-day prayer and meditation ritual. The Dalai Lama’s visit, which is likely to upset China, is his first to the nation’s capital since he stepped down as the political leader of the Tibetan government in exile earlier this year.
Since Chinese forces marched into Tibet more than half a century ago and the Dalai Lama was later forced to flee into exile, the struggle between the two has waged on
The current Dalai Lama, named Tenzin Gyatso and born in 1935, is the 14th to hold the title. After his death, the Central Tibetan administration and leading monasteries will begin their search for a child that is believed to be his reincarnation.
As the Dalai Lama tries to focus solely on his spiritual teachings, analysts say it is too early to predict how China may respond to the Dalai Lama’s new role, but note it could be an opportunity.