The Dalai Lama’s birthday is July 6th, 1935. For decades, he’s served as the spiritual leader of Tibet, urging them forward on the path of non-violence in the face of Chinese occupation. But as the Dalai Lama ages, and the Chinese consolidate their power in Tibet, rumbles of discontent are growing as Tibetan dissidents grapple with new alternatives for resistance. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, the intersection of ancient spiritual tradition with twenty-first century politics and modernity.

Travel writer William Dalrymple has lived in India since 1989, witnessing the economic boom and the cultural changes that followed. In his new book called “Nine Lives” he goes in search of the sacred. He tells Jim Fleming about some of those he discovered. In Tibet everyone knows who is sacred: it’s the Dalai Lama who will turn 75 this year. Reporter Greg Bruno traveled around India and Nepal to investigate how Chines influence is shaping the lives of Tibetans far away from home.

Research support for this story was provided by The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, now known as Type Investigations.