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Dalai Lama will address joint session of California Legislature

Dalai Lama prays for victims of Orlando mass shooting

The Dalai Lama leads a moment of silent prayer for the victims of the mass shooting at a club in Orlando, Florida, but adds, "This monk is quite skeptical about the effects of prayer. The real change, effect, comes through action."
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The Dalai Lama leads a moment of silent prayer for the victims of the mass shooting at a club in Orlando, Florida, but adds, "This monk is quite skeptical about the effects of prayer. The real change, effect, comes through action."

In his first visit to Sacramento, the Dalai Lama will address a joint session of the California Legislature on Monday afternoon.

The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, on a public tour of the United States this month, is expected to discuss “compassion, the environment, and ethical leadership” before members of the state Senate and Assembly.

The speech is not open to the public, but will be streamed live on the California Channel at 1 p.m. His arrival at the Capitol, at approximately 12:40 p.m., via the building’s west steps can be viewed from the surrounding sidewalks.

The Dalai Lama has made frequent trips to California over the years, including last summer, when he celebrated his 80th birthday with a three-day summit in Orange County. He was there again over the weekend and will head next to Salt Lake City.

But he has not before made it to the state’s capital, despite the best efforts of city leaders and Buddhists in the region. An announcement that he would visit Sacramento for several days in 2009 did not come to fruition.

That year, however, he did cause a minor furor at the Capitol in absentia, when Assembly Democrats balked at a resolution honoring the 50th anniversary of his people’s revolt against Chinese rule, after representatives of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco visited lawmakers to lobby against the measure.

The Legislature last hosted a joint session with a foreign dignitary in 2014. After attending a luncheon with Gov. Jerry Brown, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto spoke in praise of California’s treatment of undocumented immigrants.

The Dalai Lama has been a regular guest at the White House, where he met with President Barack Obama for the fourth time earlier this week.

The visits have angered Chinese officials, who accuse the Dalai Lama of leading a campaign to split Tibet from the rest of the country. The Dalai Lama, who fled for India after the 1959 uprising, gave up calls for independence in the 1980s and now publicly advocates for greater Tibetan autonomy under Chinese rule.

In Washington, D.C., he discussed the importance of religious harmony in the wake of the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla. He also faced questions about whether he had ever seen the movie “Caddyshack,” in which a character played by Bill Murray claims to have caddied for the Dalai Lama.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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