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The Autobiography of a Tibetan Monk
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The Autobiography of a Tibetan Monk

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4.38 of 5 stars 4.38  ·  rating details  ·  347 ratings  ·  30 reviews
If you've ever wondered what it's like to walk in the shoes of a Tibetan monk, you're in for a shocker. Palden Gyatso followed his heart into the monastery at the age of 10 to study under his uncle, also a monk. By his mid-20s, when he should have been preparing for a higher degree, he instead found himself behind the bars of a Chinese communist prison. For the next 30 yea...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 13th 1997 by Grove Press (first published September 18th 1997)
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Libby
This is a very, very special book.
The Dalai Lama said that "Palden Gyatso's testimony is one of the most extraordinary stories of suffering and endurance... His story is an inspiration to us all" and I can only agree wholeheartedly. The story of this man and the systematic brutal destruction of his country by the Chinese made me weep hard and bitter tears. The fact that this situation continues to this day both astounds and disgusts me more than words can explain. Perhaps the worlds powers think...more
Matthew
Aug 14, 2008 Matthew rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This is one of the most powerful books I have ever read. It brought me to tears more than once. After reading it, I decided to fast for 5 days. Few things I have encountered in my life have ever had that kind of effect on me.

I met the author after one of his lectures at Central Michigan University. He brought to the event some of the instruments of torture which were used on him. He wrote something inside of the book I bought from him...if you can read Tibetan, please let me know because I woul...more
Lorenzo Anzalone
I would have never known how harsh the Chinese rule is and has been before and after Mao if I wouldn't have read this book. I probably would have imagined it to be pretty bad but this book gave the view of the reality of the situation because what happened to Palden is outrageous.
I don't know how he was able to get trough all that violence and still be able to talk about it and protest to let his voice and the one of the Tibetans be heard. He is very strong man.
Great book, five stars even though...more
Docta_b
Oh dear Palden, what an amazing soul. What cruelty he and many other tibetan monks have endured under the decades of Chinese might, and yet remain more centered than most coddled humans ever are. Inspiring book.
Violet Crush
Ratng: 4.25 rounded to 4

Palden Gyatso, a Tibetan monk, was arrested after the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950. He was arrested when he was 28 years old and was released in 1992, when he was almost 60. This is his story.

Palden Gyatso joined a Monastery in 1943 at the age of 10 and decided to dedicate his life to religious studies. He recited prayers, learnt the scriptures and generally went about doing what monks usually do. Things started to change around 1950 when China invaded Tibet under th...more
Israel
En 1950 China invadió Tíbet embarcándose en un programa de reforma global. Bajo el gobierno de Mao, la soberanía de Tíbet fue sistemáticamente destruída: se quemaron libros, se alteró la historia, se persiguieron las órdenes religiosas, se aniquiló una buena parte de una cultura milenaria y el espíritu de un pueblo pacífico.

En 1959 Palden Gyatso, junto a otros miles de monjes, fue arrestado, hecho prisionero e internado en un campo de trabajo chino por haber participado en una manifestación no...more
Colin
Seeing Tibet through the eyes of a common monk really brought things into focus. Rather than a quick flood of Chinese soldiers taking everything over at once, it was more like an ideological noose slowly tightening. Those who failed to embrace the new Maoist brand of socialism where arrested, beaten and thrown into prisons for years. If you organized a protest to the new oppressive authority you may simply be executed. If you were from a rich family you were now from the "exploitive class" and w...more
Rachel Small
Palden is a friend and a man who holds no regret for 33 years of wrongdoing he sustained by the chinese while in prison, serving time for being a monk during a time when the chinese do not and will not allow such deviation from chinese thought. I admire him and am a better person to have had him in my life. At 34 years old, I when I told him of my relationship with my parents and how difficult things had been, he said "and you live with them of course". My reply was of course not and he looked a...more
Henrique Medina
Una emocionante autobiogarfía de Palden Gyatso un monje que cae prisionero durante la invasión china al Tibet, la novela narra sus experiencias como prisionero político ya que siempre fué fiel a sus principios monásticos y el lazo que lo une fuertemente al Dalai Lama como a la causa independentista del Tibet, sus estadías en "escuelas de re-educación" y los constantes acosos o "tamzigs" que vivió lo llevaron a huir a través de los himalayas hasta llegar al norte de India y luego establecer su re...more
Lynsey Lake
The Autobiography of a Tibetan Monk is an incredibly humbling story. I started reading this book while I was having a "bad" day ...I quickly realized how trivial my problems are. I was completely naive about the occupation, concentration camps, abuse going on-and still going on-in Tibet. This autobiography has opened my eyes. I am most grateful to Palden Gyatso for writing this book. I will forever remember his strength, courage, and compassion.

Freetibet.org
Willow
I am beginning to think there is no heaven and no hell per se, that all hell and heaven is right here on earth. The torturous acts inflicted on the political prisoners - no - INNOCENT PEOPLE, elderly people included, are just too satanic for anyone with a conscious. I just can't fathom how they were able to lay hands on the frail and helpless. How do you strike someone already beaten up black and blue? HOW!!

I am disgusted by the extent of evil.
Steve
Apr 23, 2008 Steve added it
This should have been titled "The Autobiography of a Tibetan Monk Who Spent 31 Years in a Chinese Prison." A wonderfully written account of Gyatso' life. Remarkable how he maintained his sense of hope and love for mankind considering the sadistic and deplorable conditions he survived in China's Tibetan prison system. And the Chinese? Shit, don't get me started.
Dinah Saur
This book helped bring new clarity too my life. Not in the way you would expect, necessarily, but it has allowed me to consider more carefully what is meaningful in it.

The suffering of Palden Gyatso and the people of Tibet spurs me to discover what has happened since this book was published and what I can do to be part of it.
Vicki
An amazing book. Palden Gyatso details his 30 years of imprisonment in Chinese prisons within Tibet. His perseverance in the face of many times of hopelessness, his continued allegiance to and faith in the Dalai Lame and his Buddhist practice are inspiring. A very personal telling of the genocide in Tibet.
Nick
Mandatory reading. Not just about one man's suffering and imprisonment but it gives a real human and experiential flesh on the bones of the situation in Tibet since the Chinese invasion. And more universally, the ability of humanity to transcend the worst that can happen to them.
Lynne
Incredibly moving. Palden Gyatso tells his straight forward story of the suffering of his people and country in a simple voice. Though I've known for many years of Tibet's struggle to regain their independence, I never knew the extent of the cruelty of their oppressors. Please read!
Penny Blanch
This book is an incredible story of a Tibetan monk who spent 33 years in prison by the Chinese. His story will make you cry tears of sadness and joy,and change your idea of what compassion really means. I highly recommend it.
Christine
Finished in two days. The strength of one man can change lives. If we'll only listen.
Jungchup Palmo
one of the two books everyone should read before they turn 18!

the other is Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo
Cherie
A So powerful, so intense, so sad, so real. It makes you feel so strongly for the Tibetan movement all over again
Lindsay
Beautiful memoir, a must read. I read this for an english class and was in awe of all aspects of this book.
Digitally Stacked
A shocking look at what China has done to tibet, I have read this book and intend to read it again.
Oscar
Surviving and escaping Chinese concentration camps. this guy is really tough
Carol
I read this during Bejing. What a view from the other side.
K
I read this book as a teenager and remember loving it.
Scott
If you think your life is hard, read this book.
Yneleal
good book...but very sad.
Lee
One of my all time favorites.
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Palden Gyatso (born 1933 in Panam, Tibet) is a Tibetan Buddhist monk who was born in Tibet in 1933.

After the 1959 Tibetan uprising, Palden Gyatso was arrested by Chinese officials. He spent the following 33 years in different Chinese prisons and labour camps. He was forced to participate in barbarous reeducation classes and was brutally tortured, leading to irreversible physical damage. During thi...more
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