"Whenever the Dalai Lama talks about forgiveness, he likes to use as an example the story of Lopon-la, a Lhasa monk he knew before the Chinese occupation.

" 'After I escaped from Tibet, Lopon-la was put in prison by the Chinese,' the Dalai Lama told me. 'He stayed there eighteen years. When he finally was free, he came to India. For twenty years, I did not see him. But he seemed the same. Of course, he looked older, but physically OK. His mind still sharp after so many years in prison. He was still the same gentle monk.

" 'He told me the Chinese forced him to denounce his religion. They tortured him many times in prison. I asked him whether he was ever afraid. Lopon-la then told me: 'Yes, there was one thing I was afraid of. I was afraid I may lose compassion for the Chinese.'

" ''I was very moved by this, and also very inspired.'

"The Dalai Lama paused. He tugged on his maroon robes and wrapped them tightly around him.

" ''Now, Lopon-la. Forgiveness helped him in prison. Because of forgiveness, his bad experience with Chinese not got worse. Mentally and emotionally, he didn't suffer too much. He knew he could not escape. So, better to accept reality than to be traumatrized by it.'

"The Dalai Lama is convinced that Lopon-la's power of forgiveness helped him survive all those years in prison without irreparable damage to his psyche.”