His Holiness’ First Trip to the United States
In September of 1979, during His Holiness’ first trip to the United States, Sermey Kensur Rinpoche and the Mahayana Sutra and Tantra Center of Washington DC were asked to host a public talk for His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama . With the help of some other local spiritual communities and donors, Sermey Kensur Rinpoche rented DAR Constitution Hall and invited local dignitaries along with the public to hear His Holiness’ first talk in the nation’s capital. Rincpoche arranged a back-stage audience for his students to meet with His Holiness before the talk began in which he offered a statue of Green Tara to His Holiness. His Holiness blessed the statue and offered it back to Rinpoche, who left it with MSTC DC where it remains to this day.
As the talk was about to begin, Congressman Charles Rose introduced His Holiness to the eager crowd filling DAR Constitution Hall to capacity. Rinpoche was on the stage with His Holiness as His Holiness gave a beautiful talk on the importance of universal compassion. His Holiness imparted practical advice on how to replace self-cherishing thoughts with thoughts of cherishing others. He challenged us to imagine being an observer seeing all beings on one side wanting to be happy and oneself on the other side wanting just one’s own happiness. Then he asked which side objectively is more compelling? Of course, the answer is that the infinite lives of all sentient beings and their quest to find happiness and avoid suffering completely overshadows personal self-interests.
Rinpoche’s devotion to His Holiness was clear to all as he spared no expense and made strenuous efforts to help in any way that he could to facilitate His Holiness’ first trip to the United States. One poignant moment came when His Holiness was departing DC in a limousine and Rinpoche silently, devotedly bowed his head in reverence as His Holiness joyfully waived his farewell to Rinpoche.