Resources for Teachers and Students on The Dalai Lama

Prepare: The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 because of his consistent renunciation of the use of violence in the struggle for the liberation of Tibet. His biography can be found on the Nobel website.

Read: The Dalai Lama's Architects of Peace essay is excerpted from a speech given at the "Forum 2000" conference in Prague. In it, he theorizes that developing a sense of "universal responsibility" is the way to achieve both peace and personal happiness.

Explore: The Government of Tibet in Exile, located in London, maintains an official website for the Dalai Lama. This site archives many of the Dalai Lama's official statements, as well as a narrative biography about the Dalai Lama's life.

Write: In his Architects of Peace essay, the Dalai Lama articulates the belief that "a truly compassionate attitude toward others does not change even if they behave negatively." Is this a realistic philosophy? Are we expected to maintain a compassionate attitude even toward those who commit genocide and other war crimes? Write a three-to-five page reflective essay contrasting the Dalai Lama's idealistic approach to peacemaking with more pragmatic approaches based on deterrence through military preparedness. At some point in your essay, formulate an opinion as to which approach will be more effective, ultimately, in achieving global peace.

Expand: The Dalai Lama, traditionally, has been head of state of Tibet as well as its spiritual leader. He has been in exile, however, since the Chinese army occupied Tibet in 1959. The Panchen Lama, the second highest lama within Tibetan Buddhism, was abducted by the Chinese at the age of 6, prompting Amnesty International to call him "the world's youngest political prisoner." One of the many groups still committed to Tibet's independence is a group called "Students for a Free Tibet," a group that invites all students, regardless of religious persuasion, to participate.

Additional Resource: The Kurukulla Center for Tibetan Buddhist Studies, located in Boston, calls itself "a center for developing an open heart and a clear mind." The center, which was recently visited by the Dalai Lama, makes its library of recorded teachings available online in MP3 format.

Biography of The Dalai Lama