On Tuesday, March 6, 2014, history was made. For the first time ever, the Dalai Lama, the leader of Tibetan Buddhism, had the opening “prayer” for the United States Senate. Looking at its content, it wasn’t really much of a prayer. He began asserting that he was a “simple Buddhist monk,” then addressed his prayer to “Buddha and all other gods.” Then he proclaimed that with our thoughts we make the world and that our mind is central and precedes our deeds. He said that if we speak and act with a pure mind, happiness will follow us like a shadow that never leaves. He went on to request that there be joy in the world with bountiful harvest and spiritual wealth, that every good fortune come to be, and that all our wishes be fulfilled. Finally, he spoke what he called his “favorite prayer.” He said, “As long as space remains, and as long as sentient beings remain, until then may I too remain, and help dispel the misery of the world.” (You can watch this for yourself at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVXhyvgXf-E.)
So there you have it – the prayer of the Dalai Lama. But who did he pray to? Interestingly, the basic worldview belief of Buddhism doesn’t even provide for an infinite personal God, so it couldn’t have really been to “somebody.” But they do believe in godlike manifestations – in fact the Dalai Lama is, himself, considered to be the latest reincarnation of a line of Dalai Lamas going back to the first one, who was the human manifestation of the Buddhist god of compassion. So who, then, did he pray to? This whole thing is kind of weird for someone who doesn’t believe in an infinite personal God.
But what he prayed and who he prayed to, while sort of a strange thing, is not the most important matter in this event. What I still have a hard time believing is that the Senate of the United States of America began its session with prayer by a Buddhist monk. This act speaks volumes about where we are now as a nation. It says that we are no longer a country guided by Christian beliefs. It says we are a land where diversity is more important than truth. It says that we are a nation which views every religion as equal to every other religion (regardless of the truth of its content). Most of all, it says we are very far away from God.
I do thank God that there are many people in our nation’s leadership who are faithful believers. And I praise him that beyond our leadership there is still a large percentage of believers who are disappointed with the fall we have taken. But the question is: Are there enough activist believers willing to truly put God first, actively share Christ with the masses, and stick their necks out in the culture to promote Christian values? Until this happens, we will continue down a road that leads our culture more into the gutter and our citizenry further away from God.