They were legendary warriors, and martial discipline or "action meditation" is their path to spiritual enlightenment.
The Dalai Lama leads one of the four schools, or denominations within Tibetan Buddhism. The 23-year-old Karmapa Lama leads another. His supporters believe he may one day succeed the older man as Buddhism's leading international voice.
Read more of the Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly interview with Tu Weiming, professor of Chinese history and philosophy and Confucian studies at Harvard University.
Buddhist teachings do not rule out the use of force to relieve a greater suffering, although the Buddhist tradition is rightly known for the systematic practice of nonviolence, its first ethical precept.
They teach nonviolence, but their demonstrations against the Chinese have sometimes become violent.
There is still no generally agreed figure on the human cost of September’s crackdown in Myanmar on Buddhist monks and others protesting dictatorial rule. The military government says ten people were killed and nearly 3,000 detained, of whom most have been let go. But diplomats and other observers say the death toll is much higher. We have a report today from Lucky Severson on Myanmar refugees in Thailand describing what happened to them and what the likely consequences may be of the persecution of the monks. More