The story

I never knew much about Buddhism, and was not expecting much, spiritually, from covering the Dalai Lama. But what happened just goes to show how the unlikeliest events can affect you at the unlikeliest times.

I flew from covering the historic visit of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in North Korea to Dharamsala, India. This is the home-in-exile of the Dalai Lama and his government, as well as thousands of Tibetan monks and supporters.

Our visit coincided with the events that commemorate each March 10, the date the Dalai Lama fled Tibet on horseback in 1959. He managed to evade the Chinese Communist forces, disguised as a soldier and escaping at night. The somber remembrance is a little like what the Palestinians do every year. They call it al-Nakba, or "catastrophe," which marks 1948 when they lost much of their land as the state of Israel was founded.

This year, however, the March 10 anniversary took on a more ominous tone. It was the first time the growing split among Tibetan exiles burst into the open. Some of the younger generation of exiles are losing faith in the Dalai Lama's abandonment of the dream of Tibetan independence. Some want action, even if it might mean abandoning their peaceful Buddhist way.

I wanted to ask the Dalai Lama about this and where he thought it would lead. Read full article »

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