Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama will lead the traditional opening prayer Thursday morning in the U.S. Senate.
This is the first time the Dalai Lama has led the prayer, even though he has visited the Capitol many times.
The Dalai Lama has been touring the United States and met with President Barack Obama in the White House last month despite China's objections.
The president repeated his strong support for Tibet's religious, cultural and linguistic traditions. The Dalai Lama said he is not seeking Tibetan independence from China and wants to resume a dialogue with Chinese leaders.
China warned the United States there would be serious diplomatic consequences if the meeting took place, but nothing has happened.
China accuses the Dalai Lama of using religion as a cloak to engage in separatist activities. It also has accused him of encouraging Tibetan separatists to set themselves on fire as a protest. The Dalai Lama has always denied the charge.