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Group protests Dalai Lama during his D.C. visit

Friday - 3/7/2014, 5:01pm  ET

Groups protest, support Dalai Lama

WTOP's Jamie Forzato reports.

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WASHINGTON -- Protesters outside the Washington National Cathedral Friday morning expressed dissatisfaction with the Dalai Lama, who spoke at the church.

The International Shugden Community had members outside Washington National Cathedral Friday morning while His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was speaking.

In the talk titled "Beyond Religion: Ethics for the Whole World," the Dalai Lama shared "his vision and path to leading an ethical, happy, and spiritual life, and offer a road map to building a more compassionate and peaceful world," according to a news release sent before the talk from Washington National Cathedral.

The Dalai Lamai describes himself as a simple Buddhist monk and is recognized as the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people.

The protesting International Shugden Community accused the Dalai Lama of discriminating against and persecuting the Dolgyal Shugden, who pray to the wisdom Buddha for wisdom and compassion, says International Shugden Community Spokeswoman Lisette Salari.

She says the Dalai Lama banned the branch of Buddhism and said people couldn't practice it. The ban denied those who practiced it medical attention, entry to restaurants and more, Salari says.

"He refuses any dialogue or discussion or refuses to lift the ban," she says.

The Dalai Lama says on his website that worshiping Shugden could damage efforts at non-sectarian Buddhist unity.

The National Cathedral event with the Dalai Lama Friday at 9:30 a.m. sold out.

Catch up on the action surrounding the event on Twitter using #HHDL14:

WTOP's Kristi King contributed to this story. Follow @WTOP on Twitter and WTOP on Facebook.

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