SACRAMENTO -- The 14th Dalai Lama spoke for the first time at California's Capitol to a joint meeting of the Assembly and Senate.
The spiritual leader of Tibetans, Buddhists and adherents of peace was 40 minutes late, but that didn't deter the enthusiasm of the audience.
He told the audience that human beings are basically compassionate beings, according to scientific studies. He said that has given him hope that the world can become a more peaceful place.
He said California is an important place where multicultural and multiracial cooperation and understanding can be accomplished.
He also said it was good that people in the state have embraced environmental practices, calling the planet home for humans.
"There's no other choice but to protect our own home, so people taking care of the environment is very important," said the Dalai Lama.
He said the gun control debate is misguided.
"Real gun control must start here," he said, pointing to his heart. "With more compassionate feeling, a sense of others' life, others' rights...that's the real matter of gun control."
Lawmakers and their guests reveled in his down-to-earth manner as he joked with attendees as he walked through the chambers, shaking hands and warmly greeting well-wishers with a big smile.
Assemblyman Ken Cooley of Rancho Cordova said this was a historic day, and it was no secret why his following is so loyal.
"Promoting care and compassionate care for others as foundation for human society...it's a very, very powerful message," said Cooley.
Assemblyman Jim Cooper of Sacramento said his talk covered a lot of current events including the harsh presidential campaign and the Orlando shooting incident.
"It starts from within and I think if people would stop and take a look at that, and reflect inside, I think the world would be a lot different," said Cooper.