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Siblings of the Dalai Lama: Jetsun Pema and Thubten Jigme Norbu

  • Laurie Hovell McMillin

Abstract

The autobiography of Jetsun Pema, one of the Dalai Lama’s sisters, offers the story of what readers might recognize as that of an authentic Tibetan. A Buddhist, a nationalist, and an exile, Pema possesses all the proper attributes, and the broad outlines of her story follow what seems to be a script in these exiles’ tales: the story of her childhood, an account of exile, some relation of her adult life, an expression of her devotion to the Dalai Lama. And, in a gesture that invokes the system of patronage, at the start of her Tibet: My Story, An Autobiography, Pema declares her reasons for writing:

We need the support of other peoples of the world. With the aim of a better understanding of the tragedy which has been plaguing my country, I felt that I could use my own 56–year-long life to tell the story of the suffering of an entire generation ofTibetans. In this way, my account would not be limited to the life of a single Tibetan citizen but would be the story of a whole nation.1

With this identification of “her story” with Tibet’s story, the title of the book gains significance. The colon in the title of the book-Tibet: My Story, An Autobiography—is to be read as an equal sign: Pema’s story is Tibet’s story; Tibet’s story is her story.

Keywords

Life Story Emotional Speech Hotel Room Chinese Occupation Convent School 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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    Jetsun Pema with Gilles van Grasdorff; T ibet: M y S tory, an A utobiography (Boston: Element, 1997), p. xi.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Laurie Hovell McMillin 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurie Hovell McMillin

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