OBAMA: It is good to finally meet you here, your Holiness. Thank you for coming.
DALAI LAMA: It is good to see you, President Obama.
OBAMA: Your good friend Sharon Stone called the White House today nine times in anticipation of your arrival.
DALAI LAMA: She is–what do you call–a hoot. Very good intention, but very hot mind.
DALAI LAMA: (leaning in) And of course, as nuts as a bowl of almonds.
[gently, they chuckle]
OBAMA: Your job seems… challenging.
DALAI LAMA: Your job also seems challenging. However, this is a good test for you.
OBAMA: It is. I believe that that ultimately, the American people are good. We all want to benefit humanity, just go about it in different ways.
DALAI LAMA: And I also believe that deep inside, the Chinese government is good.
[Very long, thoughtful pause.]
OBAMA: Well, you know, they’re certainly smart. Boy, are they smart.
DALAI LAMA: Even your vocal opposition in America. They are still very… smart. I watched that–who is it–Rush Limaugh on his show while on the plane.
OBAMA: [warm, hearty laugh] Oh, them!
DALAI LAMA: Yes. I commend you on showing them patience and compassion.
OBAMA: Well, sometimes they’re book-smart!
DALAI LAMA: Book-wise is not wisdom.
OBAMA: This is true. But we take what we can get. [gentle smile] You know, I have a lot of hope for them.
DALAI LAMA: However, hope is actually a reflection of despair. In my practice, I talk to my peers about abandoning hope.
OBAMA: [pondering this] Hope reflects despair…
OBAMA: I wrote a book on hope. I ran a campaign focused on hope.
DALAI LAMA: Well, I hate to point this out, but you do live in America. Years under Bush, many despair.
OBAMA: Needless to say, I’ve got a lot of hope for D.C. Especially for my opponents.
DALAI LAMA: Well, it is very kind of them to throw you so many tea parties.
OBAMA: Those aren’t really for me.
DALAI LAMA: I know. Let me just say that I can see why you have a lot of hope for the American people.
OBAMA: Er, yes.
DALAI LAMA: Maybe not that Sarah Palin, though.
OBAMA: [grinning] Your holiness has a problem with Palin, eh?
DALAI LAMA: [smiling] Problem? No. Just thinks she is very… smart.
OBAMA: Oh, she’s got a dizzying intellect.
DALAI LAMA: Very much so.
OBAMA: Well I would like to state clearly my support for the preservation of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity and the protection of human rights for Tibetans in the People’s Republic of China.
DALAI LAMA: Thank you, President Obama. That is much appreciated.
OBAMA: I do applaud your patience and grit. Please continue to talk with the Chinese government and show them patience.
DALAI LAMA: And to you as well, with your opponents abroad. And your opponents in the Republican party. And the opponents you have in your own party. [leans in] Let’s be honest. They’re not happy with themselves. That is really what I see, as well as a desire to control the future. A lot of fear.
OBAMA: I try not to judge my opponents.
DALAI LAMA: That is wise. They will judge you, but you must not do the same.
OBAMA: They want everything!
DALAI LAMA: And so they will have nothing.
OBAMA: I do hope that is not the case.
DALAI LAMA: As do I.
OBAMA: Again, please continue–as you do so well–to have patience with the Chinese government. I know that they will come around.
DALAI LAMA: And you with the American government. I know that they will come around, too.
[Long, thoughtful, pause]
Thanks, Erika and Jasmine!
Filed under: Book Smart, China, Chinese Government, Dalai, Epic Meetings, His Holiness, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Intelligence, Opposition, Photo Ops, President Barack Obama, President Obama, Right Wing Nutjobs, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Sharon Stone, Smarts, The White House
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