Diki Tsering was born Sonam Tsomo, named for the goddess of longevity and
fertility. It was a prophetic name. Her first child was born when she was
nineteen, and she had four more children before Lhamo Dhondup. When this
fifth child was just over two years old, strangers came to the small
village, and informed her that her toddler son was none other than the
fourteenth Dalai Lama. After this point, "I gradually eased out of being
Sonam Tsomo, the simple girl with her simple life and the ordinary
ambition of being a good housewife and mother. I feel very tender toward
the young girl that I have forced myself to forget."
The mystic grace of Tibetan Buddhism comes through clearly in Diki Tsering's autobiography, as told to her grandson Khedroob Thondup. Ultimately, Diki Tsering would have to flee Tibet after the country fell under the rule of Communist China. As she says in the first chapter, "I have had a strange, almost unreal life." Her story is clear and sad, a vivid portrayal of peasant life in Tibet and political turbulence in East Asia over the past half century.