Hello, Dalai!

Last weekend Sacramento Mayor Heather Fargo and City Manager Ray Kerridge visited with the Dalai Lama in the Bay Area, hoping His Holiness would have the wisdom and compassion to agree to visit Sacramento in 2009. (Wisdom and compassion are two key concepts in Tibetan Buddhism.) The results so far, said Kerridge, are a verbal confirmation—though not yet “officially confirmed with a letter"—that the exiled leader of Tibet indeed will be coming to the Valley.

According to Kerridge, he and the mayor had a luncheon with the Dalai Lama in San Francisco, followed by a brief one-on-one meet and greet, after which they attended a speech by the Dalai Lama.

In statements prior to the meeting, the city manager expressed the hope that a 2009 visit by the Dalai Lama would include a variety of talks, including perhaps a speech to the state Legislature and possibly interactions with a UC Davis institute studying the mind.

The Dalai Lama (Sanskrit for “ocean of wisdom") is considered to be the incarnation of the “bodhisattva of compassion,” referring to a Buddhist figure who is devoted to helping all other beings attain enlightenment. Tibetan Buddhists have been persecuted by the Chinese government since their seizure of Tibet in 1959.

A variety of locals, including the Interfaith Service Bureau and Buddhist groups, will be working to develop a concrete plan for a visit by the Dalai Lama. This, says the city manager, is expected to take several months.