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The Autobiography of a Tibetan Monk

Palden Gyatso was born in a Tibetan village in 1933 and became an ordained Buddhist monk eighteen years later. Through sheer determination, he won a place as a student at Drepung Monastery, one of Tibet's "Three Greats, " where he came to spiritual and intellectual maturity. However, Tibet was enduring political changes that would soon alter his life irrevocably. When Communist China invaded Tibet in 1950, it embarked on a program of land reform and "thought reform" that would eventually affect all of Tibet's citizens and nearly decimate its ancient culture. In 1959, along with thousands of other monks, Palden Gyatso was forced into labor camps and prisons. He would spend the next thirty-three years of his life being tortured, interrogated, and persecuted simply for the strength of his beliefs, for being a monk. In 1992 Palden Gyatso was released from prison and escaped across the Himalayas to India, smuggling with him the instruments of his torture. Since then, he has devoted himself to revealing the extent of Chinese oppression in Tibet and the atrocities he endured. Palden Gyatso's story bears witness to the resilience of the human spirit and to the strength of Tibet's proud civilization, faced with cultural genocide.
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