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Dalai Lama Arrives in New York for Knee Treatment


His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s 88-year-old spiritual leader, arrived in New York City on 23 June to receive medical treatment for his knees. After a welcome from Dr. Namgyal Choedup, the appointed representative of His Holiness in the United States, the Dalai Lama traveled to his hotel in Midtown Manhattan, where hundreds of well-wishers had gathered to catch a glimpse of him.

Many people traveled long distances and waited for hours to see the Dalai Lama. Well-wisher Tsering Chozom expressed the significance of the day, saying, “Today is a special day for all of the Tibetan in New York, and we get a blessing from the Dalai Lama.” Delgert Sogt added: “It’s a very happy day for all of us.” (CBS News)

“I knew I had to come here for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And I think waiting outside for the past four or five hours is definitely worth it,” said Tenzin Kunkyi. “There is a strong sense of community when you’re here, everyone’s passing around bread . . . along with getting a blessing from seeing His Holiness, we also strengthen our Tibetan bond here outside.” (Reuters)

Photo by Sonam Zoksang. From
Photo by Sonam Zoksang. From

Other dignitaries and religious leaders on hand to greet the Dalai Lama included Dr. Varun Jeph, Deputy Consul General at the Consulate General of India in New York; Avdhesh Kumar, Vice Consul; and Abhimanyu Gehlaut; as well as former ministers of the Central Tibetan Administration, Sera Jey Abbot Tashi Tsedar, and Akya Rinpoche. The Central Tibetan Administration estimated that 4,000 followers were at the airport to receive the Dalai Lama, while thousands more greeted him along the route to his hotel.

This visit marks the Dalai Lama’s first trip to the US since 2017. He has no planned public engagements for this trip.

Earlier this month, a bipartisan Congressional delegation, led by Republican Rep. Michael McCaul and Speaker of the House Emerita Nancy Pelosi, visited the Dalai Lama at his residence in Dharamsala, India, which has been the Dalai Lama’s headquarters since he left Tibet in 1959.

The delegation also met with officials from the Tibetan government-in-exile and with leaders of the Indian government, discussing various topics related to Tibetan culture and religious practices. The US lawmakers addressed a gathering at a monastery near the Dalai Lama’s home, where attendees waved American and Tibetan flags. They emphasized the importance of religious freedom and the preservation of Tibetan culture.

Photo by Sonam Zoksang. From

The visit highlighted the US’s Resolve Tibet Act, which is aimed at encouraging dialogue and cooperation between Tibetan and Chinese leaders on cultural and religious issues. The bill passed Congress and will be sent to President Joe Biden to sign into law.

The Dalai Lama, born Lhamo Thondup on 6 July 1935, in Taktser, Tibet, is the 14th Dalai Lama. He was recognized as the reincarnation of his predecessor at the age of two. In 1950, at the age of 15, he assumed full political power after China’s invasion of Tibet. Nine years later, following a failed uprising, he fled to India, where he established a government-in-exile in Dharamsala.

Tibetan Buddhism, rooted in Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions, emphasizes the pursuit of enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. The Dalai Lama is revered not only as a spiritual leader but also as a symbol of Tibetan identity and resilience. His teachings emphasize compassion, non-violence, and the importance of interfaith dialogue.

“The presence of His Holiness here in the United States is a spiritual boon, as he is visiting after seven years,” said Tashi Kyiloe from New York. “It is a great opportunity for older people like me to receive his blessing.” (Radio Free Asia)

The Dalai Lama’s visit to New York and his interactions with US lawmakers underscore the ongoing international interest in Tibet’s cultural and religious preservation. The passage of the Resolve Tibet Act by the US Congress is seen as a significant step toward fostering dialogue and cooperation on these issues.

See more

Dalai Lama arrives in New York City to receive medical treatment (CBS News)
Dalai Lama arrives in New York on trip for medical treatment (Reuters)
His Holiness the Dalai Lama Arrives in the United States, More than 10,000 People Gathered to Receive His Holiness (Central Tibetan Administration)
Thousands welcome Dalai Lama’s arrival in US for knee surgery (Radio Free Asia)
Dalai Lama (Facebook)

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