His family were refugees from Tibet, he grew up in India.
The most interesting anecdote is from when he was a student monk in India. Curiously, in a cursory but I think accurate look at the book, he gives only one paragraph to the invasion and genocide happening in his father’s native country, focusing instead on the individual’s ability to manifest changes for oneself. (He did not inquire as deeply in his trip to Tibet In 2001 as Pema did on hers in 1980). This ability of the individual is evidenced by the power in the room when his father died. His father brought a lot of art and meditation to the west.
It seems like we are benefiting from the refugees from the east: Vietnam (Thich Nhat Hanh), and Tibet. How can we help? Thich Nhat Hanh says to bring peace to ourselves and our families and our government first. It seems like donations would also be welcome in India for the education of the children from Tibet. And letters to our congressmen to encourage the UN to support Tibet.