Freedom in Exile

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Freedom in Exile
File:Freedom in Exile.jpg
Author 14th Dalai Lama
Language English
Genre Autobiography
Publisher Harper San Francisco
Publication date
Media type Print
Preceded by My Life and My People

Freedom in Exile: The Autobiography of the Dalai Lama is the second autobiography of the 14th Dalai Lama, released in 1991. The Dalai Lama's first autobiography, My Land and My People, was published in 1962, a few years after he reestablished himself in India and before he became an international celebrity. He regards both of the autobiographies as authentic and re-issued My Land and My People in 1997 to coincide with the release of the film Kundun.[1]


In the introduction, the Dalai Lama explains that he wrote the book "to counter Chinese claims and misinformation" about the history of Tibet.[1][2] The title "Freedom in exile" refers to the freedoms he says that India offers to him.[3]

The idea for a second autobiography came from a British journalist, Alexander Norman, in the 1980s, who sat and taped the Dalai Lama for "several hours at a time" and wrote the book out of the manuscripts.[2]


The autobiography starts with the Dalai Lama's "birth to a family of small farmers", selection as the Dalai Lama, tumultuous relationship with the People's Republic of China (in which he claims many atrocities), and subsequent life in India. The book acknowledges "the cultural gaps between traditional Tibetan Buddhism and the scientific approaches of the West", but has been criticized in the West for not having much religious content.[2]

The autobiography also criticizes the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for supporting the Tibetan independence movement "not because they (the CIA) cared about Tibetan independence, but as part of their worldwide efforts to destabilize all communist governments".[4]


Freedom in Exile was timed to be released around the anti-Communist Revolutions of 1989, and the Dalai Lama's winning of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize. In a review, Rembert Weakland called the book "a political one" and "a call for freedom".[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 McMillin, Laurie Hovell (2001). English in Tibet, Tibet in English: Self-Presentation in Tibet and the Diaspora. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 175. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Weakland, Rembert G. (1990-09-30). "We Must Change Our Lives". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-01-10. 
  3. 14th Dalai Lama (2009-03-31). Thank You India!. National Folklore Support Centre. Retrieved 2011-01-10. 
  4. "CIA Gave Aid to Tibetan Exiles in '60s, Files Show". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 8 September 2013. In his 1990 autobiography, "Freedom in Exile," the Dalai Lama explained that his two brothers made contact with the CIA during a trip to India in 1956. The CIA agreed to help, "not because they cared about Tibetan independence, but as part of their worldwide efforts to destabilize all Communist governments," the Dalai Lama wrote. 
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