His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama is known to the world for his efforts to preserve Tibetan culture and for his inspiring spiritual teachings. Often unnoticed, however, is the long, colorful history from which this most beloved of holy men has emerged. In Secret Lives of the Dalai Lama, Alexander Norman tells this story in full for the first time, from Tibetan Buddhism’s foundational narratives to the present-day crisis faced by Tibet.
And what a story it is. Along with dedicated monks selflessly serving the Tibetan people, among His Holiness’s spiritual forebears there are a Dalai Lama who waged wars, a womanizing and inebriated poet, and several who wound up dead following disputes over temporal power. Also, while Western practitioners focus on Tibetan Buddhism’s liberating vision of enlightenment, it simultaneously contains ritual practices of prophecy and magic, as well as a vivid pantheon of deities and demons.
In the end, although Tibet falls short of the Western myths of a Himalayan utopia, by illuminating the historical struggle toward compassion and selflessness embodied in the Dalai Lama lineage, Secret Lives of the Dalai Lama ultimately reveals a reality that is vastly more compelling than any romance of “Shangri-La” and provides deeper reasons for admiring Tibetan tradition.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
In analyzing Shakya Chokden’s ideas, Komarovski explores some of the most important issues of both traditional and modern Buddhist scholarship, including contested approaches to the nature of reality, the relationship between philosophy and contemplative practice, inter- and intrasectarian Buddhist polemics, and the nature of consciousness and mental processes.
Rinchen Sadutshang was born in 1928 near the Tibet-China border to a well-off trading family, educated in a Jesuit school in the Himalayan foothills of British India, and served in the Dalai Lama’s government both before and after the 1959 Communist takeover of Lhasa. A refugee alongside tens of thousands of his countrymen, he played a crucial role in bringing the plight of the Tibetan people to the world’s attention.
In this memoir, published just months after his passing in July of 2015, the author recounts his long, fascinating career in service to the Tibetan cause. From meeting British viceroy Lord Waverly in India and General Chiang Kai-shek in China in 1946 to being part of the delegation that successfully pled Tibet’s case before the United Nations in the 1960s, he offers a first-hand perspective on a number of memorable historical events.
On a quiet winter morning in 1937, several men on horseback rode into the tiny Tibetan village of Taktser. Disguised as peasants, the high lamas were on a secret mission--soon they would identify 3-year-old Lhamo Thondup as the 14th reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. With a foreword by the Dalai Lama himself, this dramatic narrative follows his remarkable childhood, illuminating the story of Tibet and introducing a remarkable world figure to a new generation.
As she uncovers stories of Tibetan women's courage, resourcefulness, and spiritual strength in the face of loss and hardship since the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1950, and observes the changes wrought by the controversial new rail line in the futuristic "new Lhasa," Sam comes to embrace her own capacity for letting go, for faith, and for acceptance. Her glimpse of Tibet's past through the lens of the women - a visionary educator, a freedom fighter, a gulag survivor, and a child bride - affords her a unique perspective on the state of Tibetan culture today - in Tibet, in exile, and in the widening Tibetan diaspora.
Gracefully connecting the women's poignant histories to larger cultural, political, and spiritual themes, the author comes full circle, finding wisdom and wholeness even as she acknowledges Tibet's irreversible changes.
For more about the author, go to http://www.canyonsam.com/skytrain.html
The Dalai Lama's story is revealed from his early family life to his experiences in the world, his education as the 14th incarnation of the Lama, his exile in India, and his current struggles to help Tibet regain its independence from China. Especially helpful is the clear historical overview of the Tibetan crisis after the Chinese invasion. A timeline and glossary also supplement the text. Though the book is written especially for high school students doing reports, it will also be of immense interest to general readers.