The LA Times reports that the Dalai Lama is currently spending five days visiting the monastery town of Tawang, which is inside the Indian state, Arunachal Pradesh, on the Tibetan border - an area claimed by China.
The reaction from the Chinese, who have become increasingly vocal about their Dalai-Lama-conspiracy-theories, is worth noting:
"[The Dalai Lama] is always involved in activities that undermine the relations between China and other countries as well as ethnic separatist activities," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a regular news briefing last week in Beijing.And most incredibly, "The Dalai Lama is a liar."
It's unclear whether the Dalai Lama's defiance of Chinese authority marks any significant change in his "activities that undermine the relations between China and other countries," as the spiritual leader continues to challenge people in every nation to seek the truth and to live lives of compassion.
Only a month ago, when the Dalai Lama visited Washington, DC for several speaking engagements and to accept this year's Lantos Human Rights Prize, he did not hesitate to tell a crowd of educated Americans that, even in a country established on principles of freedom, we've still got plenty of learning to do when it comes to compassion:
"Huge gap, rich to poor. This is unhealthy," he said. "You have to think seriously about those less-privileged people. They're also human beings."
With all of the overwhelming problems the US faces today (healthcare, war, economic meltdown - to name a few), let's hope we can foster a little more courage and compassion in creating meaningful solutions.
And let's sincerely hope that next time the Dalai Lama is in Washington, DC, that President Obama acknowledges his presence and actually meets with him face-to-face.