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My Land and My People: The Original Autobiography of His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  1,064 ratings  ·  87 reviews
Schooled behind ancient palace walls to become the leader of Tibet, the Dalai Lama has become a spiritual leader to the world and a leading civil rights advocate. My Land and My People tells the story of his life.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published December 1st 1997 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 1962)
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Jun 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
I'm kind of torn on what I think about this book. On one hand I feel kind of jipped. The first few chapters were marvelous, and ridiculously interesting, but then it became 100% political. I feel as though I can recount every single detail of the struggle between Tibet & China. I feel as though I bought an autobiography, but ended up reading about politics.

On the other hand...I'm not sure I can really fault the Dalai Lama for that. I mean...that is his life, right? Seeing as how I (obviously) si
Tenzin Deckyi
Oct 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites

This is one heart-wrenching story. Although I grew up hearing almost every details mentioned in the book, like any other Tibetan kid born into exile, reading the book written by the very man made it a whole new story. It overwhelmed me, tore my heart and had me weep.

You come to realize that your life and all those self-acclaimed tragedies that you have so far made a list of, doesn't come as near to what His Holiness had to experience. If anything, you are just an undeviating product of what hap
Dec 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An amazing book! Held back tears in every page and let them flow when I was finished. Written in a manner that shows and tells the true emotions and motivations behind the Dalai Lamas actions during the time of the first years of Chinese occupation.
His Holiness is such an amazing human, a true inspiration. His softness and kindness is truly something spectacular and extraordinary in this world. Makes you wonder- what would the world be like if we'd all be like this.

My favourite book of all tim
Tatum Theaman
Oct 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction

I must first say that this is not the exact version I read (I read an early version printed in 1962), but it's the version of this book I could find.

This book was possibly the most incredible, beautiful, and heart-breaking book I have ever read. We've all at least heard bits and pieces of the story of the Chinese invasion of Tibet, but I have never heard it told in such a heart-wrenching manner, and yet, there is no bitterness. The Dalai Lama tells the story of not just the invasion, but of his

Lora Shouse
Jul 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is the original autobiography of the Dali Lama. Written in the early 1960’s it ends just a few years after he was driven from his native Tibet by the Chinese. The book includes not only his own story, but, of necessity a brief history of the Tibetan people, the Chinese invasion of Tibet, and a recounting of the resolutions filed in the United Nations after the Dali Lama’s exile asking to have Tibet restored to the Tibetan people.

The story of the Dali Lama’s early life was especially interes
Mar 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in Tibet, Buddhism, Non violence, Occupied Countries, The Dalai Lama
Recommended to Roniq by: found it used at the bookstore
The Dalai Lama is coming to Seattle. Woo Hoo!!!

This is a truly incredible book for learning about the culture of Tibet and the struggles and domination the country has endured as a result of Chinese occupation, in addition to having an insight into the man who would become the Dalai Lama. I learned so much reading this book. His story is amazing, from a very young age (four and a half) he journeyed to Lhasa and was recognized as the 14th Dalai Lama, the Temporal and Spiritual leader of Tibet. Hi
Sep 26, 2010 rated it liked it
Although I knew the broad outlines of what happened to TIbet in the mid-twentieth century, I had no idea the exact details, and I'm grateful to have read this book and to have a sense of exactly what was done, what was lost, and who gave their lives under such difficult circumstances. I also value the look at Tibetan life before the Chinese invasion - especially for beautiful moments of contradiction, like the Buddhist belief that it's wrong to take a life, but their commitment to eating meat, r ...more
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: china, buddhism
In addition to being an eyewitness to 20th century history, the 14th Dalai Lama is a central figure in that history. His authorship of this book alone renders it a historical document of some significance. But beyond that, this a well written and captivating description of the life of Tibet and the Lama before and after the revolution of 1949.

It traces the events surrounding his birth, youth, education, rule, overthrow and exile without an excess of religious dogma or political polemics. First
Oct 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: all seekers
It's amazing that there are people in the world who have to go through ordeals such as one that the 14th Dalai Lama had to. Exiled since he was 13, but serving his days as a holy man since the day he was born basically, this story, told in his own words, gives a very touching and emotional narrative of his life , leading into exile.

I was very moved by his exile story, how reading it gave me more insight into my own parents' story during the American-Vietnam conflict, and how hard it must have be
Dec 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I thought "Freedom in Exile", the account more widely available in bookstores, was the definitive autobiography by HH the DL, untilI stumbled upon this in Dharamsala. The very last copy in a tiny bookstore was extricated from a dusty window display for me. Far more detailed, pained, immediate, reasoned than anything else I've read from or about HH. A mind-blowing piece of memoir writing in itself, where you can trace Buddhist practice in the very turn of a phrase. After he escaped from Chinese-o ...more
Aug 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Interesting account by the Dalai Lama of his childhood and escape into India. Clear explanations of the political climate. Very objective. He's not a dramatic crybaby whining for his country. He is so dignified and peaceful. I am outraged at what China has done to Tibet. I wonder if the Tibetans will ever get to go home. ...more
Passang Dolma
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My land and my people is autobiography of his holiness the 14th dalai Lama. Translation was done by his interpreter Kazi sonam topgay and edited by David howarth.
He writes of simple Tibetan life into which he was born and among whom he as the reincarnation of his predecessor , was discovered and declared dalai Lama according to his country ancient customs. In 1938 he was recognised as 14th dalai lama and then taken away  from his family and brought up in Lhasa according to a monastic regime of
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was unexpected and worthwhile. I was gifted with this volume when I worked with Tibetan refugees in Nepal. I expected the text to be propagandistic, but it wasn't. In fact, the Dalai Lama speaks of known atrocities with a measure of restraint, never delving into the truly horrible things that China did and is doing in Tibet. It is a controlled, tactful, reserved story of an exceptional person in exceptional circumstances. This might actually be the one weakness of the book. It simply doesn' ...more
Choki Wangmo
May 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hm40
Most of the literature on Tibetan uprising couldn't really put into frame what the central government did during the crisis other than being a Chinese puppet. Many ended up accusing the government of being weak and inattentive to peoples' wellbeing.

In his own words, the Dalai Lama, however brings into light what the government did and try to do during those times- the best decision was inaction to save Tibetans from brutal torture and death. It was unsuccessful because the Chinese did it their
Kevin Considine
Dec 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A thoroughly engaging read with the Dalai Lama telling the story of his being discovered as the reincarnation of the 13th Dali Lama at the age of 4. I most enjoyed the stories of his boyhood and preparation to be the spiritual and political leader of Tibet and the Tibetan people.

The book transformed from an autobiography of the Dalai Lama to more of a history of China’s invasion, oppression, and eventual genocide of the Tibetan people.

Sad to think that the Tibetan people will at some point soo
Arjun warrier
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There is so much more Tibet than what we read about it.The book elaborates upon a Leaders plight of reflecting upon his people struggle to be recognised as a soveriegn country and the price they had to pay against the Chinese political and armed take over in the 1950s. Despite their own set of troubles,the Tibetan people even today embrace Buddhism as the way of Life and have distanced themselves from their colonialists. It's a fight the Tinetans have been fighting at international forums and co ...more
Pratap Padhi
Apr 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A heart wrenching account of the Chinese accession of Tibet. Though its an autobiography of His Holiness the Dalai Lama yet the book has inclusively touched upon all the aspects of Tibet its past, the land and its art and culture. The story unfolds how a newly born brash Machiavellian communist state spreads it evil tentacles to devour a great treasure house of spiritualism and philosophy. Its a distressing story of coercive conversion of a nation of simple and contended people to nationless ref ...more
Jim Breslin
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Hey guys, I just finished reading this book by the Dalai Lama and I'm starting to think our country isn't on the correct path to achieve Enlightenment.

Seriously though, the Dalai Lama's autobiography covers up to the early 1960s and is worth reading. I was fascinated by the selection process that led to their realization that he was the reincarnation they were searching for. It was insightful to read about the invasion of Tibet by China, how the Tibetans formed a Resistance, how the UN failed t
Jun 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting perspective on the invasion into Tibet. Truly awful how Tibetans were treated, but it felt less like an autobiography and more a political stance against the Chinese. It also was a bit of a lull in parts because perhaps it’s the religion and nature of being a Dalai Lama but it was written almost as if he did no wrong ever and I think it made the book less interesting because it was hard to see character development.
His Holiness' first memoir, written only three years after escaping Tibet and setting up his government in exile. As such, much more "unfiltered" than his later books, such as Freedom in Exile. ...more
Mar 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Was hoping for more info into the belief system of buddhism. Given to me by a coworker. Started off interesting with how the Dalai Lama is chosen but I started to lose interest once it became more political towards the end.
Subramaniam Krishnan
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
George K. Ilsley
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A text written with the energy and context of unfolding events. There was a youthful idealism here -- that the UN would help Tibet, that China would be amenable to reason.
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was written with such tenderness, love, and kindness.
Tenzin Seldon
I think that every speech of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's are very useful to our life ...more
Neil Crowle
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very good read, full of insights into the whole situation in Tibet following the Chinese entry. The comments on the attitudes of various world leaders to Tibet's situation were also interesting. ...more
May 25, 2008 rated it liked it
This book was written some time ago and although it's often referred to as the sort of quintessential account of the siege of Tibet, I don't think it really stands up to others I've read. It's a good, quick read. It's not a great book. It seems to suffer most from a lack of flow and cohesion. Plus, I think his holiness often has to err on the side of diplomacy and 2nd person accounts because of his position and his perspective on the situation. It may be a result of translation but there is a de ...more
Tad Saffarally
The life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet is very obscure to most people. The Dalai Lama of Tibet is a very prominent and also controversial figure. However many people do not really know about him. 'My Land and My People: The Original Autobiography of His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet' is a very honest story about His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It talks about his upbringings to his life at present day and how the political situation of his country has affected him.

I would reccomend thi
Apr 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
While reading this book, I was struck by several things. First, the Dalai Lama XVI is one of those rare people whose patience and wisdom from such a young age is truly remarkable, and this is an example of the right person at the right time. Second, throughout the book there is a tone of hope that a peaceful solution can and will be found. It's now been over 50 years, and he and 60,000 other Tibetans are still in exile. Third, the power of rhetoric ("reactionaries", "expansionist imperialists") ...more
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Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso (born Lhamo Döndrub), the 14th Dalai Lama, is a practicing member of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism and is influential as a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, the world's most famous Buddhist monk, and the leader of the exiled Tibetan government in India.

Tenzin Gyatso was the fifth of sixteen children born to a farming family. He was proclaimed the

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