The Smithsonian's Folklife Festival 2000
Washington DC--His Holiness the Dalai Lama overwhelmed all that
attended this years Folklife Festival. Though this years Festival
showcased the cultures and areas of Tibet, the Rio Grande basin and our
capitol, Washington DC, the real reason people flocked to the national
mall was to get a glimpse of Tenzin Gyatso,
14th Dalai Lama of Tibet.
|Sites At The Folklife Festival
The appearance of the Dalai Lama was preceeded by
Tibetan Buddist Monks praying and chanting. This all started before
9:30AM with the His Holiness scheduled on stage at 11:00AM. I arrived at the scene by 10:00 that morning and the Festival looked deserted except the stage
area. I was surprised to find so many onlookers already seeking out the
most strategic place to view this historical event. The chanting and
praying was soothing, the weather near perfect for Washington in the summer
and people just kept coming. The crowds spilled onto 7th Street,
security was tight but not apologizingly
obvious. The crowds consisted of all types from our society, the
YUPPIES, the DINKS (Double Income No Kids), the SITCOMS (Single Income
Two Children Oppressive Mortgage), camera crews from all over, the joggers
that run along the Mall, the Tattoo Group (self explanatory) and the Crowd
People (those groups that appear at most significant events to pass out
pamphlets and brouchures, in hopes of touching a few with their message).
It's was a peaceful quiet group, shoulder to shoulder, black to
white, christians to western buddhist, all came anticipating the Dalai Lama.
|US Park Police
I thought to myself that this stage, at this particular time would be
the perfect place for His Holiness to make mention of the Tibetan people's
flight from their own land in the 1950's after the invasion by China.
I thought it was inevitable for the Dalai Lama
to mention his plight. It was a perfect setting, his stage facing the US
Capitol, the Washington Monument rising gloriously from behind, all eyes and ears revited ahead, it was an ideal setting
for a political speech. I was wrong.
Unlike many religious leaders that have been on this stage before him,
the Dalai Lama did not use this time to politicise, to forward his own
agenda, to scold his western followers, or plead for help. He did
mention his people missed their homeland and wished to return. What
His Holiness said was the premise we all try to live by, and that is
peace to others as well as to yourself. To understand and be kind,
to appreciate, to love. I was touched that such an important figure,
did not use this stage for any political speeches, no mention, not a word,
not a peep, just passing along the words to be kind and gentle. In my
view, it was an ultimate act in selflessness!!!
Use the links on this page and others to find out more about the Dalai Lama, as well as
see the cultures and peoples of Tibet, the Rio Grande basin, and our own Washington DC.
Folklife Festival Main Page
Folklife Festival Photos
Tell a Friend about this Feature
Preserving Tibetan Arts
Tibetan Government in Exile
Free Tibet Site