The Dalai Lama has been outspoken in the wake of the June 12 mass shooting in Orlando, advocating religious tolerance and non-military solutions while expressing skepticism about reliance on prayer for solutions.
Speaking at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C., the Dalai Lama called the Pulse nightclub shooting a “very serious tragedy,” according to the C-SPAN transcript of his remarks. Tenzin Gyatso is the 14th Dalai Lama, the Buddhist spiritual leader of Tibet.
He called for silent prayers for the victims of the shooting, but mentioned that “some are quite skeptical about the effects of prayer. [The solution] has to come through action, serious action, continuously, despite difficulties.” He went on to say, “Some prayer is OK, no harm, [but] without action, it is just prayer,” reports C-SPAN.
The Dalai Lama went on to call for religious tolerance and peaceful solutions, major themes of many of his post-Orlando remarks.
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“American military power cannot change others’ mind or emotion,” he said, calling religious harmony a necessary element for peaceful solutions. “There is no other choice.”
On June 13, the Dalai Lama published an opinion piece in The Washington Post in response to the tragedy in Orlando. “It is not enough simply to pray,” he wrote, again calling prayer no substitute for collective action. He also called for a common morality outside of religion.
“Even though I am a Buddhist monk, I believe that these solutions lie beyond religion in the promotion of a concept I call secular ethics ... based on scientific findings, common experience, and common sense -- a more universal approach to the promotion of our shared human values,” he wrote in The Washington Post.
President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet with the Dalai Lama on June 15, at the White House. According to The New York Times, the media will be barred from the meeting, which has posed a diplomatic problem with China for the U.S.