Ashin Nyanissara, left, greets the Dalai Lama in New Delhi.
Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama expressed his desire last week to visit Burma to pay homage at the country's holiest shrine of the Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon.
The message was conveyed to leaders of Burmese Buddhist monks at the Global Buddhist Congregation 2011 held in New Delhi, India, on Nov. 27.
“The Dalai Lama said he has a great friendship with Burmese monks because they are well-versed in Buddhist scripture and also strictly follow the code of conduct of monk-hood. And he wants to pay a pilgrimage to Shwedagon,” said Ashin Nyanissara, an influential Burmese Buddhist monk who joined the event in Delhi.
Burmese Buddhist monks responded to the Dalai Lama by saying that he would be invited to Burma at an appropriate time, Ashin Nyanissara said in a note posted on the internet.
But it is not clear when the Dalai Lama intends to come to Burma or if the Burmese government, a major ally of China, would issue a visa. Naypyidaw has already angered Beijing recently through the suspension of the Chinese-backed hydropower dam project in northern Burma.
The Chinese government has frequently objected to foreign nations granting the exiled Tibetan leader entry to their countries. The Dalai Lama had to cancel his plans to join the 80th birthday celebration of fellow Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu in South Africa this October after being denied a visa.
He has called for a genuine autonomy for Tibetans living in Chinese-controlled Tibet, but Beijing views him as a dangerous "separatist" who wishes to remove Tibet from China.
The Dalai Lama courted controversy in the region when he joined other Nobel Peace Prize winners, including Desmond Tutu, in Thailand in 1993 to protest about Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest.
Thailand eventually agreed to provide him with a 24-hour visa to attend the event despite fierce protests from Beijing.