In this astonishingly frank autobiography, the Dalai Lama reveals the remarkable inner strength that allowed him to master both the mysteries of Tibetan Buddhism and the brutal realities of Chinese Communism.The Dalai Lama’s autobiography should leave no one in doubt of his humility and genuine compassion. Written without the slightest hint of pretense, the exiled leader of Tibet recounts his life, from the time he was whisked away from his home in 1939 at the age of 4, to his treacherous escape from Tibet in 1959, to his winning of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. The backdrop of the story is the 1950 Chinese invasion of Tibet. He calmly relates details of imprisonment, torture, rape, famine, ecological disaster, and genocide that under four decades of Chinese rule have left 1.25 million Tibetans dead and the Tibetan natural and religious landscapes decimated. Yet the Dalai Lama’s story is strangely one of hope. This man who prays for four hours a day harbors no ill will toward the Chinese and sees the potential for good everywhere he casts his gaze. Someday, he hopes, all of Tibet will be a zone of peace and the world’s largest nature preserve. Such optimism is not naive but rather a result of his daily studies in Buddhist philosophy and his doctrine of Universal Responsibility. Inspiring in every way, Freedom in Exile is both a historical document and a fable of deepest trust in humanity. –Brian Bruya
An eye-opening and moving story Right up front, the Dalai Lama claims that English is not his first language and he requests the reader bear with him. At times, the english is a little stilted but it never detracts from the story being told. His honest account of the young days having been found as the 14th Dalai Lama but still being a little boy is wonderful. He leads you through a chronological account of his life and spiritual work.
A. Vegan says
Hearbreaking Knowing nothing at all about His Holiness The Dalai Lama or Tibet/China relations I was eager to learn more. As a convert from Catholicisim to Buddhism, I was pleased to read that the Dalai Lama considers himself to be just a regular human, who was chosen to fulfill a specific role. After reading this book, you get the sense that he would be a very pleasant person to talk with.On the downside, I was absolutely shocked to read about what the Chinese Government has done to Tibet and its people. Tibet is a peace loving country and to be in the army, was the lowest form of life. A 17 point ‘agreement’ was drawn up by the Chinese for Tibet. Members of the Tibetan delegation were forced under duress to sign the agreement and phony Tibetan state seals were used. Large Tibetan estates were confiscated and redistributed by the Chinese. After monks and nuns were arrested, they were forced, in public, to break their vows of celibacy with one another and even to kill people.The Tibetan Freedom Fighters were no match for the Chinese army. Besides using bombers to obliterate towns and villages, the Chinese army also crucified, disembowelled, beheaded and buried many Tibetans alive. In order to prevent Tibetans from giving praise to the Dalai Lama on their way to execution, the Chinese tore out their tongues with meat hooks.It was really disheartening to read about what happened to these people. I think this is a book that everyone at some point needs to read. It really opened my eyes.
Kelly Edwards "lordlime" says
An very moving book This is by far one of the most moving and amazing books I have had the pleasure to read. The Dalai Lama has a very eloquent way of telling the story of his life. From his simple begininngs throughout the Chinese invasion of Tibet, he tells the story beautifully. His attention to detail and rememberence of people who he has met impressed me greatly. Sometimes words can fail to summarize the effect something has one you…for words lack the ability to describe the depth of compassion and sympathy I felt during and after reading this book.