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Photographer Don Farber has followed His Holiness, the Dalai Lama for 30 years. This documentary and inspirational work celebrates the life and work of a leader unique in the modern world. Farberas photographs capture the charismatic spiritual figure, highlighting the reverence shown him wherever he goes. Of equal interest are the quieter moments that reveal the private individual and his compelling humanity. Through following in the footsteps of His Holiness we learn more about his character, and about the central tenets of Tibetan Buddhisma?
The Dalai Lama, born July 6, 1935, is considered to be the reincarnation of the first Dalai Lama. In 1937, two-year-old Lhamo Thundup was discovered in an obscure Tibetan province by a group of senior Buddhist monks who had been searching for the fulfillment of the 1932 prophecy of the thirteenth Dalai Lama. The child passed several tests that confirmed he was the chosen one and, in 1939, he and his family went to Lhasa, where he began his instruction in Buddhism. In 1940, he assumed the name Tenzin Gyatso, and he was officially proclaimed the fourteenth Dalai Lama. Gyatso studied Buddhism and developed an interest in the modern world--looking at ways to modernize his country while retaining its culture. Events at the border with China in 1950 accelerated his elevation to the throne at age 15. In 1959, advised that his life was in imminent danger, he fled the palace for India. The Dalai Lama repudiated all agreements with China and established himself as the Tibetan government-in-exile. Chinese troops invaded and slaughtered thousands. In the '70s, especially after the death of Mao in 1976, he began to travel outside of India to plead the Tibetan cause to the world community. In the 1980s he offered a five point peace plan, which did not require autonomy from China. In 1989, the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. The Dalai Lama has been recognized as a charismatic figure who preaches compassion, and his cause has been taken up in the West in a variety of ways, including two Hollywood movies KUNDUN and 7 YEARS IN TIBET. The Dalai Lama has been a prolific writer of books, several of which have sold well. In 2000 he had two books simultaneously on the New York Times Best Seller list.