Over the decades, the Dalai Lama, exiled leader of Tibet’s Buddhist community, has maintained an ongoing dialogue with the international Jewish community — in New York City, in Washington, in Jerusalem and in India, where he has lived for the last half-century.
Last week the Dalai Lama’s Jewish outreach continued.
As part of a week-long “Thank You India” festival, marking the 50th anniversary of his arrival in India — accompanied by 80,000 followers — he visited eight places of prayer and worship in New Delhi, including the Judah Hyam Synagogue and a Catholic church.
A red kipa atop his head, the Dalai Lama listened as Rabbi Ezciel Isaac Malekar read a prayer, below, and offered a blessing. “Some Indian friends” and “Tibetan colleagues” accompanied him, the Dalai Lama’s Foundation for Universal Responsibility announced.
“This will be the first gesture of gratitude and appreciation by his holiness on behalf of the Tibetan people,” the foundation stated. “It will also be a gesture, celebrating the diversity of Israel and its long history of interfaith harmony.”
The Dalai Lama, the unrecognized-by-China head of state and spiritual leader of Tibet, left his homeland in 1959, a decade after China’s invasion of Tibet and its imposition of martial, rule. The seat of his Tibetan administration-in-exile is Dharamsala, in the hills of northern India.
Winner of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize, he has met leaders of the Jewish community several times, calling for interfaith cooperation and asking the “Jewish secret” for maintaining its ethnic and religious identity during centuries in exile.
The Dalai Lama was the first visitor at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington 26 years ago.