Looking Back on Barack Obama’s Friendly Relationship with Buddhism

As Barack Obama’s presidency comes to a close, we’re looking back on his friendly relationship with Buddhists around the world.

Sam Littlefair
20 January 2017
L-R: President Obama with the Dalai Lama, Obama with Pema Chödrön, and Obama holding a small Buddha statue that he keeps in his pocket.

President Obama met twice with the Dalai Lama (drawing ire from China) and once with Pema Chödrön, who described him as kind and genuine. He revealed in an interview that he keeps a small Buddha statue in his pocket and issued the White House’s first-ever statement on Vesak, which reflected on the Buddha’s teachings of peace.

While in Vietnam, he quoted Thich Nhat Hanh, and then, while in Laos, paid tribute to the strength of Buddhist faith:

“We see the strength that so many of you draw from your Buddhist faith. A faith that tells you that you have a moral duty to each other, to live with kindness and honesty, and that we can help end suffering if we embrace the right mindset and the right actions.”

Sam Littlefair

Sam Littlefair

Sam Littlefair is the former editor of LionsRoar.com. He has also written for The Coast, Mindful, and Atlantic Books Today. Find him on Twitter, @samlfair, and Facebook, @samlfair.