Day 1 of Way of Peace, Belfast

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

His Holiness The Dalai Lama
20 November 2005.

 Day 1 of Way of Peace, Belfast
( report back to Georgetown University US)


As our first day in Belfast draws to a late close, I am still absorbing the impressions of the first day of the Way of Peace.  Our day began only hours after landing in Belfast, and after a hearty Irish breakfast, we commenced with the preparation of the day's first event. 

The Dalai Lama arrived in the hotel at roughly 10:15 am, hand in hand with Fr. Laurence, gracefully climbing the mezzanine steps.  He was greeted by the Ray of Hope Choir, a group of talented Irish youth, affiliated with UNESCO, who welcomed His Holiness with a series of songs and a Celtic blessing ringing of hope, faith, and a call for reconciliation in a land troubled by years of strife. 

His Holiness displayed his characteristic glee and unconditional happiness with a shining smile that never hinted of jet lag.  As I struggled to fight my waves of tiredness, I couldn't help but be awed by the Dalai Lama's freedom from such an ordinary human complaint.  After sharing a few words with the enchanted children of the choir, he listened intently to a few speakers from the group, who presented gifts and warm welcomes to the Tibetan visitor.  The event was a simple yet powerful opening to this three-day "Way of Peace" initiative, an artistic demonstration of the themes of dialogue, peace, and reconciliation that will pervade these next few days.