Hundreds turn out for Dalai Lama's visit to National Cathedral

(WJLA) - Wisconsin Avenue in D.C. was lined with hundreds of protestors opposing the Dalai Lama's policy on a small sect of the Buddhist community during his visit to the National Cathedral Friday.

Their signs called out for religious freedom for Shugden Buddhists -- many of whom showed up in full force.

"It's one thing to have an opinion about a topic. It's one thing to teach that topic. But once you forcibly impose a ban, that's really ostracizing and segregating millions of people through the world," said Len Foley, a protestor that said he opposes the Dalai Lama. "We call that religious discrimination."

The Dalai Lama has called Shugden Buddhists "divisive" and "cult-like."

Supporters of the Dalai Lama showed up to defend his stance on the sect.

"The Dalai Lama says anybody is free to worship whatever they want -- the good, bad, ugly, it is your own business. But he says as a leader for the common good of the community, it is not advantageous to worship that deity," said supporter Karma Zurkhang.

Inside the National Cathedral, the 78-year-old Tibetan monk touched on his familiar themes of peace, love and karma.

"If you do good things, good action to others, you get benefits. If you do harm to others, you get negative consequences," the Dalai Lama said Friday.

Kimberly Cooper and her 14-year-old son were among those in the audience.

"I think his big message is connecting with people as humans on a very human and basic level," Cooper said. "I think his words really resonate."

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