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Lions Roar : July 2017
RARELY HAS a leader so young, unknown, and inexperi- enced in the ways of the world faced such terrible challenges. Following the Dalai Lama’s dramatic escape, tens of thou- sands of Tibetans attempted the perilous journey to escape Chinese oppression, many at the cost of their lives. In the first wave of exodus, some eighty-five thousand Tibetans fled to an uncertain freedom in India, and in later years to Nepal, Taiwan, and countries around the world. The young Dalai Lama was their rallying point, inspiration, and hope. The Indian government was generous to the Tibetan refugees—as much as their scant resources allowed. Between 1960 and 1965, more than twenty settlements for Tibetan refugees were set up in India, and the Dalai Lama visited them often. More than half of the settlements were in the south of India, a difficult environment for people used to the climate of Tibet, and thousands died of heat and disease. The Dalai Lama was concerned about preserving the culture, identity, and Buddhist religion of the Tibetans in exile. He worked with Nehru to set up the Society for Tibetan Education and helped reestablish many of Tibet’s most famous monasteries in India. Seen as a progressive and modernizer, he faced resis- tance from the conservative Tibetan establishment. Still, on March 10, 1963, the fourth anniversary of the uprising in Lhasa, he announced a democratic constitution for Tibet and established a Tibetan parliament-in-exile. As the young leader worked to sustain the hopes and well-being of the millions of Tibetan in exile, he struggled to bring the world’s attention to the fate of his nation. His appeal to the United Nations led to the three resolutions in the early 1960s asking China to respect human rights in Tibet. They went unheeded. In 1967, Nehru allowed him to embark on his first foreign tour since his exile, to Japan and Thailand. Still largely unknown on the world scene, he made his first trip to Europe in 1973, traveling to eleven countries. In Rome he met Pope John VI and in Holland he met a rabbi for the first time. “In his eyes,” he wrote in Freedom in Exile, “I clearly saw all the terrible suffering of his people, and wept.” In 1979 he went to the United States for the first time, giv- ing talks in New York and then throughout the country. In 1987, the Dalai Lama outlined an historic Five Point Peace Place to the U.S. Congress. He called for the transfor- Caring for His People, Taking the World Stage 1960–1989 Top: His Holiness at a Tibetan nursery school in India. The refugees needed food, shelter, and work, as well as education and institutions that would preserve their culture and equip them for the modern world. Middle: A progressive and modernizer, the Dalai Lama speaks on Tibetan Democracy Day, Dharamsala, 1970. Bottom: A group portrait of important Tibetan teachers in exile. In the front row with the Dalai Lama are the heads of the four major sects of Tibetan Buddhism. PHOTOS:THELIVINGHISTORYPROJECTANDTHETIBETMUSEUM(LEFTMIDDLE) LION’S ROAR | JULY 2017 66