Sunday, June 28, 2009

Book Review; The Open Road

Title: The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama (Vintage Departures)
Author: Pico Iyer
Rating: ****
Tags: dalai lama, dharamsala, buddhism, tibet

The author, Pico Iyer, has known the Dalia Lama since childhood, as Iyer's father was a friend of the Dalai Lama's. Iyer has seen him in formal settings and infomral, in his exile home of Dharamsala, and at functions around the world. That makes the book an excellent picture of the man who is considered a God by his countrymen. It is not just a picture of the man, but of Buddhism, and of Dharamsala, of the Tibetan exiles and small bits about those still in Tibet.

Most of all, it is a picture of a man who has great spiritual reserves tested to the max by the situation he is in. He must look on while his countrymen are tortured and their culture diluted by Chinese immigration into Tibet. He is a man who believes in democracy and keeps urging it on the Tibetan exiles, who in turn only want to leave governing all up to him. He is a man of an ancient spiritual discipline who urges others to follow their own traditions but to make space in their lives for the spirit, and yet is also fascinated by modern science and technology.

Fascinating book about a fascinating man.

Publication Vintage (2009), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 288 pages
Publication date 2009
ISBN 0307387550 / 9780307387554

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