Buddhist spiritual leader arrives in Portland for three-day visit
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – The Dalai Lama, Nobel Peace Prize winner, head of the world’s 350 million Buddhists and leader of the Tibetan government in exile, arrived in Portland on Sunday for a three-day visit that will include a public rally, teaching seminars and a youth summit.
The red-and-saffron-robed spiritual leader, who arrived after a visit to Salt Lake City, was greeted on the tarmac by Mayor Vera Katz and blessed the white scarves of several local Buddhist leaders before he and his entourage were whisked away in a 12-car motorcade. He made no arrival statement.
The Dalai Lama, 65, has lived in India since 1959 when he and thousands of other Tibetans fled following a failed uprising against Chinese rule. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.
He is on a three-week, eight-city tour of the United States. He visited Minneapolis and Salt Lake City and will visit Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Madison, Wis., and Washington, D.C.
Each city has Tibetan residents settled by the 10-year-old Tibetan Resettlement Project.
The Dalai Lama is at odds with many Tibetans in exile who believe their homeland should be independent. The Dalai Lama opposes the way China governs Tibet but says he favors more autonomy for the country as opposed to outright independence. He has called himself half-Marxist, half-Buddhist.
He has said he would not oppose a bid by China to host the 2008 Olympic Games if it would improve human rights in China.
”This is a very complicated issue because China is the most populous nation in the world and deserves to be the Olympic host,” he said in Salt Lake City.
He said if supporters of democracy in China favored holding the Olympics there he would not stand in the way.
”China should not be isolated,” he said. ”Friendship with China is essential.”
Members of the Northwest Tibetan Cultural Association, who were instrumental in bringing the Dalai Lama to Portland, hope the visit will raise awareness of the Tibetan independence movement and a project to raise $4.5 million for a Tibetan studies and peace center in Portland.
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