Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, UA, 17 July 2008 (By David O’Reilly & Sam Wood, The Philadelphia Inquirer) - The Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of the Tibetan Buddhists worldwide and the self-exiled head of Tibet, began his day-long visit to Philadelphia this morning with a visit to the Kalmyk Buddhist Temple in the Feltonville section of the city.
He prostrated himself before images of the Buddha and other religious icons. He sat on the temple floor where he led the monks in prayers in Tibetan. Then he moved to a seat at the front of the temple where he greeted each of the monks and joked with them for an additional 10 minutes.
At the nearby community center, he spoke in English to a crowd of about 100 people, mostly of Mongolian descent, telling them how much the Tibetan and Mongolian communities shared. He urged them to study Buddhist philosophy, saying it was not enough just to practice its rituals.
His appearance here follows a five-day lecture series at Lehigh University in Bethlehem. He leaves tomorrow for New York, and then to festival in Colorado where his admirers will conduct a traditional Buddhist ceremony wishing him a long life. He is 73.
He fled Tibet as a teenager in 1959, eight years after Chinese Communist troops invaded the mountainous country and claimed it as a historic part of China. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and is regarded as the symbolic leader of most of the world's Buddhists.