The Dalai Lama was still a hot topic Sunday at the official opening of a Buddhist temple in Orange County’s Little Saigon after about 6,000 people turned out to hear the spiritual leader call for worldwide understanding as “we are the same human beings.”
Speaking in English mixed with Tibetan, the 14th Dalai Lama is a hero to many residents of the largest Vietnamese community in the world outside Vietnam.
The Dalai Lama is exiled from his home in Tibet due to Chinese government policies, but he urged people to cooperate and understandtxhibited some of that hoped-for compassion when he stopped speaking to allow a man with a walker and a child in a wheelchair to approach him, and he then provided a blessing for them.
Excited Vietnamese-Americans who simply wanted to see and hear the Dalai Lama were joined by a throng of Vietnamese-language media, some of which carried the event live. There was such a crush of reporters and photographers that they even got into a shouting match with police when refusing to clear an area for a fire lane.
“I can’t believe how modest he is,” Long But, a junior from Marina High School in Huntington Beach, told the Times.
The speech came the day before Sunday’s official opening of the Chua Dieu Ngu Buddist temple. The temple’s abbot, Thich Vien Ly, had met the Dalai Lama in India last year, asking him to appear at the opening ceremonies.
“I would not ever miss this,” Garden Grove resident Phuong Dung told the Times. “We feel so blessed that he is here. How can we forget this day?”