The Last Dalai Lama? Essay

The Last Dalai Lama? Essay

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The Last Dalai Lama?


The twentieth century is rife with examples of countries being torn apart or experiencing great upheaval. Multi-ethnic Yugoslavia broke apart into several nation states with loose foundations. The Soviet Union collapsed, transforming the area into the Commonwealth of Independent States. Germany split in half as a result of World War II and then reunited over forty years later. One country that has experienced tremendous crisis and upheaval on a scale even greater than these European nations, yet often goes unnoticed, is Tibet. Tibet enjoyed peace and autonomy until 1949 when Chinese Communists invaded the country under the guise of the "Peaceful Liberation." Coveting Tibet’s vast natural resources and strategic location in Central Asia, they sent off innocent civilians and peaceful protesters into prisons and concentration camps, subverted their economic and agricultural system, and ravaged Tibetan culture.

As a result of the Chinese invasion, Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet has undertaken roles and responsibilities that no other previous Dalai Lama has attempted. Determined to salvage Tibetan life and culture he fled his palace in Lhasa and instituted the Tibetan Government in Exile in Dharamsala, India. Since his flee into exile Tenzin Gyatso has diligently worked to negotiate peacefully with China and other nations to reclaim his country, institute a working democratic government in India, and promote the survival of Tibetan culture through the establishment of schools, monasteries, and cultural centers. Therefore as a result of the Communist invasion of Tibet and Tenzin Gyatso’s subsequent response to it, the role of the Dalai Lama has irrevocably changed. He has gone from an iso...


... middle of paper ...


...e past half-century. His actions and success as a ruler provide a true example of the application of religion towards politics, and that faith can and does overcome.

Works Cited

Avedon, John. In Exile in the Land from Snows. New York: Harper Perennial, 1997.

Goldstein, Melvyn. "The Dalai Lama’s Dilemma." Foreign Affairs, 77 no. 1, 1998, p. 83 – 98.

Mullin, Glenn H. The Fourteen Dalai Lamas: A Sacred Legacy of Reincarnation. Santa Fe: Clear Light Publishers, 2001.

Pedersen, Kusumita P. "Tibet: Liberation as Oppression." Cross Currents 38, no.1, 1988, p. 100-102.

Pilburn, Sidney, ed. The Dalai Lama: A Policy of Kindness. New York: Snow Lion Publications, 1993.

Verhaegen, Ardy. The Dalai Lamas: The Institution and Its History. New Delhi: D.K. Printworld, 2002.

Wen, Wang. "Tibet: Change and Development." Beijing Review 44, no. 19, p. 12 – 15.

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