The Dalai Lama will step in for Chaplain Barry Black to lead the U.S. Senate's opening prayer on Thursday, March 6, 2014 according to the Chaplain's office.
The Director of Communications for Chaplain Black's office told The Huffington Post that Senator Reid nominated the Tibetan spiritual leader to lead Thursday's prayer in the place of the chaplain, whose office regularly facilitates prayers by visiting religious leaders.
The Dalai Lama's prayer has been pre-approved, the director said, and if it is similar to the one he gave in 2009 to the New York State Senate, he may highlight the need for compassion and an "inner peace of mind." He will be continuing the Senate's 207-year tradition of beginning each session with a prayer, a role Chaplain Black has fulfilled since 2003 when he was elected 62nd Chaplain of the United States Senate.
Known for a firm commitment social activism, the 14th Dalai Lama is a controversial figure in China, where his relationship with the U.S. is regularly criticized. On February 21, the Dalai Lama met with President Obama for the third time prompting a reaction from the Chinese Foreign Ministry whose spokesperson called the meeting an "interference in China's internal affairs."