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.”