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Freedom in Exile: The Autobiography of The Dalai Lama Reissue Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0060987015
ISBN-10: 0060987014
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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 Inspiring in every way, Freedom in Exile is both a historical document and a fable of deepest trust in humanity.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

From Library Journal

This book gives some picture of Tibetan daily life and a few anecdotes, but because the reign of the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet has been conducted largely in exile, it is not surprising that much of his story is concerned with the tangled problem of Tibet's relationship with China over the past 40 years. One striking feature of the book is one's sense that the Dalai Lama is a fundamentally ordinary individual despite a life that--beginning with his being "discovered" as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama at the age of three--was always most out of the ordinary. His winning the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize will increase curiosity about this man and his world view, so perhaps more readers will explore the quiet wisdom of his philosophy and see the eloquent result of a tradition that has the abiding sense not to divorce statesmanship from true spirituality. Highly recommended.
- Mark Woodhouse, Gannett Tripp Lib., Elmira Coll., N.Y.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperPerennial; Reissue edition (May 13, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060987014
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060987015
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,009 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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.
The book was an education for me on the basics of Buddhism, the struggle of the Tibetans, the role of the Dalai Lama and glimpse of China's past and present. I'm motivated to read more on all these topics - in particalar, Buddhism and the history of China (the notable Gang of four).
If you're looking for information on the Tibetan struggle and the Dalai Lama, this book is it. THe Dalai Lama is always honest and frank about his opinions on events and people. His strength and poise comes across clearly in his writings.
The pain and trauma of the Tibetans has left a mark on my conscience. The Dalai Lama's non-violent opposition of the Chinese is admirable and to be an example for us all.
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Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Paperback
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.
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By A Customer on June 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
I scarecely knew who the Dalai Lama was before I picked up this book. But after reading it, I am glad that I had something of a chance to hear what he had to say. He starts off talking of his boyhood, and how he was chosen at the age of 6, to be his country's newest religious leader. The stories of his early life in the monastery are very amusing, but one wonders whether it is really a good idea to take someone so young into a monastery before they have any idea of what they are getting into. Still, Llamo Thondup seems to have done alright. He goes on to tell of how, at the age of 15, the Chinese invaded Thibet and took over his homeland, leaving this young adolescent as the sole leader, spiritual and political, of his entire country in a time of war. Eventually, the problems stemming from the red army's invasion of Thibet were so severe that a large portion of the population were forced to flee for their lives to India, where Jawarhalal Nehru, in an act unlike any other by anyone else in history, allowed over one hundred thousand refugee Thibetans into an already densely populated country and made provisions for the propagation of the Thibetan culture in Sarnath, Dharamsala and other towns in northern India. What strikes me as so odd is that Thondup does not seem to have the slightest measure of hatred for the Chinese people and even manages to understand, or at least try to understand, what caused them to such brutal actions. To do so must require a substantial degree of self-mastery and understanding, and in a way, shows Thondup as not merely a puppet "leader" of his people, but as someone who takes his faith very seriously indeed. His struggles to preserve the culture of his homeland and the care which he has for his people are genuinely touching.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
This autobiography of one of the leading persons of Buddhism did not touch me because of deep thoughts on Buddhism - I have to read another book for that - but because this great man described in detail how difficult it was for him to live the life of a 'Holiness' when he was a normal little child e.g. struggling with his brother on the journey to Lhasa, being taken away from his beloved family, feeling lonely, sleeping in a cold palace covered with dust. He never got conceited, but felt the burden heavily of being a religious leader, serving his people in good and bad times. Besides being a Buddhist this man is a wonderful, intelligent, brave human being and I love the modesty and honesty of his autobiography.
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