In this vivid memoir that has sold millions of copies worldwide, Heinrich Harrer recounts his adventures as one of the first Europeans ever to enter Tibet and encounter the Dalai Lama.
Xinran made the trip and met the woman, called Shu Wen, who recounted the story of her thirty-year odyssey in the vast landscape of Tibet. In Sky Burial, Xinran has re-created Shu Wen’s journey, painting an extraordinary portrait of a woman and a land, each at the mercy of fate and politics. It is an unforgettable, ultimately uplifting tale of love, loss, loyalty, and survival.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
At the far eastern end of the Himalayas in Tibet lies the Tsangpo River Gorge, known as “the great romance of geography” during the nineteenth century's golden age of exploration. Here the mighty Tsangpo funnels into an impenetrable canyon three miles deep, walled off from the outside world by twenty-five thousand foot peaks. Like the earthly paradise of Shangri-La immortalized in James Hilton's classic 1933 novel Lost Horizon, the Tsangpo River Gorge is a refuge revered for centuries by Tibetan Buddhists–and later in Western imagination–as a sanctuary in times of strife as well as a gateway to nirvana.
The Siege of Shangri-La tells the story of this fabled land's exploration as both a geographical and spiritual destination–and chronicles the discovery at the end of the last millennium of the truth behind the myths and rumors about it. Veteran journalist Michael McRae traces the gorge's exploratory history from the clandestine missions of surveyor-spies called pundits and botanical expeditions of naturalists in the early twentieth century to the recent investigations of scholars, adventurers, and pilgrims seeking the "Hidden Falls," of the Tsangpo, which purportedly rivals Niagara in size and serves as the gateway to paradise. Each explorer's narrative provides increasing evidence of why the gorge has been mythologized in Eastern and Western lore as one of the world's most alluring blanks on the map–and a supreme test of human will.
Taking readers on a guided tour of the gorge's landscape, physical and metaphysical, McRae presents an insightful look at the pursuit of glory and enlightenment that has played out in this mysterious land with sometimes disastrous consequences. The Siege of Shangri-La is a fascinating journey through the inner recesses of a remote, mystical world and the minds of those who have attempted to reach it.
From the Hardcover edition.
Escape from the Land of Snows: The Young Dalai Lama's Harrowing Flight to Freedom and the Making of a Spiritual Hero
Mao Zedung, China’s ruthless Communist dictator, had pinned his hopes for total Tibetan submission on controlling the impressionable Dalai Lama. So beloved was the young ruler—so identified with his country’s essence—that for him to escape might mean perpetual resistance from a population unwilling to tolerate an increasingly brutal occupation. The Dalai Lama’s minders sent word to the Tibetan rebels and CIA-trained guerrillas who waited on the route: His Holiness must escape—at all costs.
In many ways, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was unprepared for the epic journey awaiting him. Twenty-two years earlier, government search parties, guided by prophecies and omens, had arrived at the boy’s humble peasant home and subjected the two-year-old to a series of tests. After being declared the reincarnation of Tibet’s previous ruler, the boy was brought to Lhasa to learn the secrets of Buddhism and the ways of ultimate power. Forced in the ensuing two decades to cope with aching loneliness and often stifling ritual—and compelled to suppress his mischievous personality—Gyatso eventually proved himself a capable leader. But no previous Dalai Lama had ever taken on a million Communist Chinese soldiers bent on stamping out Tibetan freedom.
To keep his country’s dream of independence alive by means of a government in exile, the young ruler would not only have to brave battalions of enemy soldiers and the whiteout conditions waiting on the slopes of the Himalayas’ highest peaks, he’d have to overcome a different type of blindness: the naïveté intrinsic to his sheltered palace life and his position as leader of a people who considered violence deeply taboo.
His mind made up, the young Dalai Lama set off on his audacious journey to India while behind him a Chinese army rolled over Lhasa, its advance hunter patrols in fierce pursuit of the man they most coveted. The 14th’s escape was an act of daring and defiance that represented Tibet’s last hope, and so the world watched, transfixed, as the gentle monk’s journey unfolded.
Emotionally powerful and irresistibly page-turning, Escape from the Land of Snows is simultaneously a portrait of the inhabitants of a spiritual nation forced to take up arms in defense of their ideals, and the saga of an initially childlike ruler who at first wore his monk’s robes uncomfortably but was ultimately transformed by his escape into the towering figure the world knows today—a charismatic champion of free thinking and universal compassion.
From the Hardcover edition.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche inspired Matthieu Ricard to create this anthology by telling him that “when we come to appreciate the depth of the view of the eight great traditions [of Tibetan Buddhism] and also see that they all lead to the same goal without contradicting each other, we think, ‘Only ignorance can lead us to adopt a sectarian view.’” Ricard has selected and translated some of the most profound and inspiring teachings from across these traditions.The selected teachings are taken from the sources of the traditions, including the Buddha himself, Nagarjuna, Guru Rinpoche, Atisha, Shantideva, and Asanga; from great masters of the past, including Thogme Zangpo, the Fifth Dalai Lama, Milarepa, Longchenpa, and Sakya Pandita; and from contemporary masters, including the Fourteenth Dalai Lama and Mingyur Rinpoche. They address such topics as the nature of the mind; the foundations of taking refuge, generating altruistic compassion, acquiring merit, and following a teacher; view, meditation, and action; and how to remove obstacles and make progress on the path.
According to the Buddha, no one can attain basic sanity or enlightenment without practicing meditation. The teachings given here on the outlook and technique of meditation provide the foundation that every practitioner needs to awaken as the Buddha did. Trungpa teaches us to let go of the urge to make meditation serve our ambition; thus we can relax into openness. We are shown how the deliberate practice of mindfulness develops into contrived awareness, and we discover the world of insight that awareness reveals. We learn of a subtle psychological stage set that we carry with us everywhere and unwittingly use to structure all our experience—and we find that meditation gradually carries us beyond this and beyond ego altogether to the experience of unconditioned freedom.
Although Tibetan Buddhism continues to grow in popularity, the crucial relationship between teacher and student remains largely misunderstood. Dangerous Friend offers an in-depth exploration of this mysterious and complex bond, a relationship of paramount importance in Tibetan Buddhist practice.
According to Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the student must have complete trust in the teacher (the "dangerous friend") if he or she is to achieve any understanding. It is the teacher's responsibility to uphold the integrity of the tradition, the basis of which is compassion for all beings, by transmitting it properly to an appropriate student. Likewise, it is the student's responsibility to meet the challenge of carrying on the lineage of teachings. By entering such a relationship, both teacher and student accept the burden of protecting those teachings by understanding them completely and correctly, by practicing them fully and faultlessly, and by transmitting them without omission.
Dangerous Friend includes discussions of the following topics:
- Meeting and recognizing an appropriate teacher.
- Understanding the gravity of entering the teacher-student relationship.
- Shifting one's approach from spiritual materialism to genuine Buddhist practice.
- Accepting the challenge of being truly kind, honest, and courageous.