Years ago, I studied with a painting teacher at the Art Students League of New York who was a devotee of Tibetan Buddhism. She painted meditation wheels or mandalas. After the Dalai Lama came to New York, she excitedly told us of her experience meeting him. She described placing her arm over the Dalai Lama’s to escort him down a flight of stairs, and the feeling that her feet never touched the steps as she walked with him.
On Saturday, January 17, 2009, the Dalai Lama delivered the Madhavrao Scindia Memorial Lecture before an audience in India, and spoke out on the issue of terrorism. “It is difficult to deal with terrorism through non-violence,” he said. “They (terrorists) are very brilliant and educated…but a strong ill feeling is bred in them. Their minds are closed.” The Dalai Lama emphasized that the way to tackle terrorism is through prevention. The Tibetan spiritual leader and head of the Tibetan government-in-exile went on to stun his audience by declaring, “I love President George W. Bush.”
In 2007, the Dalai Lama was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor amid official protests from China. He met with President Bush, who called him “a man of faith and sincerity and peace.” The American President and the Tibetan leader have had their differences in how to end international terrorism. In the aftermath of 9/11 attacks in the United States, the Dalai Lama asked President Bush to spend billions of dollars on education and promotion of non-violence instead of warfare.
The Dalai Lama and President Bush are both gracious men. The American people owe our President a debt of gratitude for his eight years of leadership and service to the United States. The number one task of the United States President is Commander in Chief. We were fortunate to have had President Bush as our leader in the fight against those closed-minded men and women who stand as the enemies of freedom.