The U.S. Senate's opening prayer on Thursday was delivered by the Dalai Lama — in his words, "a simple Buddhist monk."
The Tibetan spiritual leader has been in the U.S. for several weeks and his itinerary has included a White House meeting with President Obama, over the strong objections of China. As The Associated Press puts it:
"Beijing decries the Dalai Lama as an anti-Chinese separatist because of his quest for greater Tibetan autonomy. The White House calls him a respected cultural and religious figure who is committed to peace."
Courtesy of C-SPAN.org's video library, we've created a video clip of the Dalai Lama's appearance Thursday. It's the only time he's delivered the Senate's opening prayer, according to The Washington Post. As you'll see and hear, he:
-- Urges the lawmakers to "speak or act with a pure mind" so that "happiness will follow you, like a shadow that never leaves."
-- Prays for "joy in the world ... with spiritual wealth."
-- Tells the senators that his favorite prayer is that "as long as space remains, as long as sentient beings remain, until then may I remain and help dispel the misery of the world."