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Secret Lives of the Dalai Lama: The Untold Story of the Holy Men Who Shaped Tibet, from Pre-history to the Present Day Kindle Edition
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– His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama
“Secret Lives of the Dalai Lama provides the modern reader a most insightful description of Tibetan history and culture. Engaging, accessible, and scrupulously fair in its treatment of the subject, perhaps its greatest merit is that it offers a new and rich way to appreciate the life and work of the present Dalai Lama.”
– Thupten Jinpa, PhD, Tibetan scholar and the principal translator to the Dalai Lama
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
- ASIN : B0036S4A5E
- Publisher : Harmony (February 9, 2010)
- Publication date : February 9, 2010
- Language : English
- File size : 1168 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 466 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 0385530706
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #872,564 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Beginning with the pre-history of Tibetan myth (that is, myth to non-Tibetans), Norman spends the first half of the book explaining the concept of Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, and his personal interest in Tibet and history of reincarnating in human form throughout Tibet's history. By the second half of the book we reach the 16th century, when Chenrezig's rebirth was formally given the name of Dalai Lama and applied for the first time to the man who became known as the 3rd Dalai Lama. (The two immediately preceding incarnations were retroactively proclaimed as the 1st and 2nd.) Each Dalai Lama is then given a chapter or more depending on his significance, along with detail on his family and background, as well as on the actions of the various Buddhist hierarchs and sects in selecting him as the incarnation, training him, and running the country during his minority. Norman examines the rise and fall of each Dalai Lama's control of the religious and secular institutions of his day and the resulting fortunes of Tibet in relation to its neighbors, especially Mongolia and China. The final chapters bring us up-to-date with the current Dalai Lama and Tibet's ongoing struggle to maintain a presence distinct from that of China.
Footnotes, a 22-page bibliography, and a detailed index are included. The author is a long-time acquaintance of the current Dalai Lama, with whom he has co-authored several books and who wrote the forward to this one. The reader would have been well-served with a few maps, a glossary, and charts showing the succession of Dalai Lamas and their earlier lineage, but even without these I highly recommend this book for anyone with an interest in the Dalai Lama and his religious background, Tibet and her woes, or Tibetan Buddhism in general. It is hugely informative and compulsively readable, honest in its appraisals (the author is quite forthcoming about the personal and professional shortcomings of the incarnations and other main characters), and gives the reader a solid basis for understanding what's happening between Tibet and China.
- The book is a fantastic lesson on the history of Tibet, origins of Tibetan Buddhism and the institution of the Dalai Lama and of course the nation's complicated relations with China
- Excellent coverage of some of the more esoteric points of Buddhist dogma and Tibetan iconography, for example the explanations regarding Abhidharma cosmology and the cult of Dorje Shugden are particularly well done
- Documents how the history of the Dalai Lama is filled with violence, geopolitics, hard-nosed power-grabs and other less enlightened emotions. Folks who prefer their Tibetan Buddhism to be limited to slim volumes of vapid exhortations and comfy meditation cushions will probably take issue with some of the facts presented here. Those with rose-tinted, lotus-shaped glasses - prepare to have them cracked.
- Probably not one of the intentions of the author, but the book really illustrates that the current 14th DL quite well may be the best of the bunch
- No maps and no information graphics, so at times its difficult to keep all the locations and the protagonists straight