The exiled 14th Dalai Lama was born on July 6, 1935 to a peasant family living in a former Tibetan village. He was recognized as the reincarnation of the previous spiritual leader of his nation at the age of two and enthroned on February 22, 1940. In 1959 he and 100,000 followers fled the country following a failed revolt against the Communist Chinese forces that had occupied Tibet for almost a decade. Since that time, the Dalai Lama has met with numerous world leaders and U. N. officials in a tireless effort to free his country and preserve the traditional Tibetan way of life. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and has been awarded honorary citizenships by many international cities and countries, as well as multiple honorary degrees and human rights awards. In 2007 the Dalai Lama received the United States Congressional Gold Medal. He has written many books and lectures around the world.
Jeffrey Hopkins is Professor Emeritus of Tibetan and Buddhist Studies at the University of Virginia, where he has taught Tibetan Studies and Tibetan language since 1973. At the University of Virginia he served as Director of the Center for South Asian Studies for twelve years and founded a program in Buddhist Studies.