The Dalai Lama's 80th birthday has been a cause for celebration but also consternation for Tibetans at home and in the diaspora. Now, as he grows older, doubt hovers in the air as to who will carry on the struggle when he's gone.
Tibet has long been known as a place of mystique and intrigue for its ancient customs and beliefs. The teachings of Tibetan Buddhism and the Dalai Lama have garnered widespread attention around the world, from the media to Hollywood celebrities. Despite this, the practices of Tibetan Buddhism and the real lives of modern day Tibetans are not well understood.
In this episode of America Abroad, the truths beyond the stereotypes, traveling to the Chinese city of Chengdu, near the Tibetan border, to explore the tensions between Tibetan culture and Chinese urbanization efforts; In Dharamsala, India we examine how Tibetans in exile deal with Chinese surveillance while gradually embracing technology; And in the US we visit a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in upstate New York to learn why Tibetan Buddhism has become appealing to so many Westerners.