Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He frequently describes himself as a simple Buddhist monk. Born in northeastern Tibet in 1935, he was as a toddler recognized as the incarnation of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama and brought to Tibet’s capital, Lhasa. In 1950, Mao Zedong’s Communist forces made their first incursions into eastern Tibet, shortly after which the young Dalai Lama assumed the political leadership of his country. He passed his scholastic examinations with honors at the Great Prayer Festival in Lhasa in 1959, the same year Chinese forces occupied the city, forcing His Holiness to escape to India. There he set up the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala, working to secure the welfare of the more than 100,000 Tibetan exiles and prevent the destruction of Tibetan culture. In his capacity as a spiritual and political leader, he has traveled to more than sixty-two countries on six continents and met with presidents, popes, and leading scientists to foster dialogue and create a better world. In recognition of his tireless work for the nonviolent liberation of Tibet, the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. In 2012, he relinquished political authority in his exile government and turned it over to democratically elected representatives. His Holiness frequently states that his life is guided by three major commitments: the promotion of basic human values or secular ethics in the interest of human happiness, the fostering of interreligious harmony, and securing the welfare of the Tibetan people, focusing on the survival of their identity, culture, and religion. As a superior scholar trained in the classical texts of the Nalanda tradition of Indian Buddhism, he is able to distill the central tenets of Buddhist philosophy in clear and inspiring language, his gift for pedagogy imbued with his infectious joy. Connecting scientists with Buddhist scholars, he helps unite contemplative and modern modes of investigation, bringing ancient tools and insights to bear on the acute problems facing the contemporary world. His efforts to foster dialogue among leaders of the world’s faiths envision a future where people of different beliefs can share the planet in harmony. Wisdom Publications is proud to be the premier publisher of the Dalai Lama’s more serious and in-depth works.
The Sixth Ling Rinpoché (1903–83) was a towering figure in Tibetan Buddhism. Combining great learning with great humility, he was ordained by the Thirteenth Dalai Lama and went on to serve as the the head of the Geluk tradition and as the senior tutor to the present Dalai Lama. In temperament and wisdom, he had a profound influence on the Dalai Lama’s spiritual development, and he became a steadying presence for His Holiness during the chaotic changes that defined the Tibetan experience of the twentieth century, with the invasion of their county by Communist forces and the subsequent rebuilding of their culture in India. Ling Rinpoché’s extensive travels among exiled communities abroad and across India bouyed the spirits of the Tibetan diaspora, and the training and activities of this consummate Buddhist master, here told by the Dalai Lama in the traditional Tibetan style, will inspire and amaze.
Over one hundred archival photos bring the text to life.