BOOKS: BUILDING A LIBRARY Tibetan Buddhism
Brown, Mick, The Independent on Sunday (London, England)
Any attempt to broach Tibetan Buddhism must begin with the Dalai Lama, Nobel Prize winner, the world's most famous Buddhist and its most prolific author. In fact, most books bearing his name are either in the form of conversations with American psychologists in search of the meaning of happiness, or transcriptions of his teachings. Better to turn to his inspirational autobiography, Freedom In Exile, which provides the most useful primer to his life, the religious and political background of Tibet, and the principles of Buddhist philosophy.
In Prisoners of Shangri-La, Donald S Lopez makes the intriguing suggestion that the Dalai Lama is engaged in the "spiritual colonisation" of a West made receptive by a romanticised view of Tibet as the repository of all things holy. Lopez provides a compelling study of the roots of this mythology, from the 19th- century Theosophists, through the metamorphosis of The Tibetan Book of the Dead from mortuary text to new age/self-help manual, to the books of Lobsang Rampa. His memoir of life as a Tibetan lama, The Third Eye (1956), did much to stimulate a fascination with all things Tibetan - its influence was only partly diminished by the revelation that Rampa was actually Cyril Hoskins, the son of a Plympton plumber, whose "previous life" had been spent working in a surgical appliance shop.
A deeper understanding of the Buddhist teachings can be found in A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life, a rhapsodic poem composed by the 8th- century sage Shantideva (trs Stephen Batchelor), which describes the spiritual journey of a Bodhisattva - one who is committed to attaining full enlightenment for the sake of all living beings. The 11th-century saint Milarepa exemplifies the ideal. …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: BOOKS: BUILDING A LIBRARY Tibetan Buddhism. Contributors: Brown, Mick - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent on Sunday (London, England). Publication date: January 23, 2005. Page number: 30. © 2009 The Independent on Sunday. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.