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Dalai Lama, My Son: A Mother's Story
     

Dalai Lama, My Son: A Mother's Story

by Diki Tsering
 

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The autobiography of the mother of one of the world's most revered spiritual leaders and an intimate portrait of his beginnings....

On the birth of His Holiness: "He was different from my other children right from the start. He was a somber child who liked to stay indoors by himself. He was always packing his clothes and his little belongings. When I

Overview

The autobiography of the mother of one of the world's most revered spiritual leaders and an intimate portrait of his beginnings....

On the birth of His Holiness: "He was different from my other children right from the start. He was a somber child who liked to stay indoors by himself. He was always packing his clothes and his little belongings. When I would ask what he was doing, he would reply that he was packing to go to Lhasa, and that he would take all of us with him."

On traditions: "I am proud to be, despite my resilience and ability to change, a very traditional woman. Does this make me archaic and anachronistic? I don't think so. My traditions, my roots as a Tibetan, have fortified me. Traditions cannot be denied or forgotten. They are the creators of your spirit and your pride, and are the backbone of your sensibilities. They make you what you are and define what you want to be."

In 1999, forty thousand people stood in the blazing heat of Central Park to hear His Holiness the Dalai Lama speak. Some sixty-four years earlier, in the warmth of the huge stove that dominated their simple Tibetan home, one woman recognized the special blessing of his birth. Dalai Lama, My Son is the story of this remarkable woman as she recounts in her own words what it was like to realize her son was being received as a living Buddha, to watch him grow physically and spiritually, and finally to see him become one of the most recognized faces in the world.

Known now as the Grandmother of Tibet, Diki Tsering was born to a peasant family in 1901, the Year of the Ox, and married at sixteen. In Dalai Lama, My Son, she tells her own amazing story and that of her son in his formative years. She recalls His Holiness's unfolding personality and Buddhist upbringing; the visitors who came to her town seeking the new Dalai Lama; the move to Lhasa; and the years there until the Chinese invasion of Tibet and the family's escape and ultimate exile. Beautifully packaged and illustrated with family photographs and a map of Tibet, this glimpse into the origins of the Dalai Lama personalizes the history of the Tibetan people, the magic of their culture, the role of their women, and their ancient ideals of compassion, faith, and equanimity.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This spare, fascinating autobiography by the Dalai Lama's mama addresses issues as diverse as faith, political intrigue and the harsh demands of rural life. Born at the turn of the century to a hardworking peasant family in a frontier region of Tibet, Diki Tsering (her married name) entered an arranged marriage at 16 and found herself entirely under the thumb of a brutal, sometimes violent mother-in-law. She bore 16 children, but only seven survived their toddlerhoods (four of these deaths were blamed on a malevolent family ghost). One of her sons, of course, was recognized at age four as the incarnation of the Dalai Lama, the highest religious and political leader in Tibet. Diki Tsering followed him to urban Lhasa, where she traded her dawn-to-dusk working life for the leisured, and sometimes bewildering, social role as Tibet's "Mother of Compassion." She accompanied the youthful lama on his travels to India and on a year-long expedition to China, where officials attempted to coax the Tibetan entourage into capitulating to Chinese leadership. When the party arrived home, however, they discovered that the Chinese had already infiltrated Tibet, taking over Diki Tsering's homeland and other areas. The family managed to escape to India in 1959, sneaking out at night dressed as soldiers. The story is enthralling, although the writing (edited from taped interviews with Diki Tsering before her death in 1980) is choppy and the narrative sometimes confusing. (May) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
From her 1901 birth into a prosperous Tibetan peasant family to her 1981 death in India when she had gone with her son, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tsering experienced a life marked by hard work, devotion to her family, and remarkable change. Thondup, her grandson, has edited notes of conversations between Tsering and her granddaughter Yangzom Doma to fashion a simply told but compelling book. What emerges is the chronicle of a blissful childhood, painful servitude as a young Tibetan wife, and the overwhelming changes wrought when not one but two sons were identified as reincarnated lamas. Recommended for public and academic collections for its personal insights into Tibetan culture, the occasionally Byzantine quality of Tibetan Buddhism, and the status of women. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/00.]--James R. Kuhlman, Univ. of North Carolina at Asheville Lib. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101199435
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/01/2001
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
208
File size:
232 KB

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Looking Back

I have had a strange, almost unreal life, now that I try to recollect my history. You must forgive me if my memory lapses occasionally. It is all so very long ago, and my childhood has never been a conversation piece until today! I don't know how to be interesting. It's amusing that you ask me the date of my birth. If I had ever asked my grandmother such a question, I would have been severely rebuked for showing such disrespect. How times have changed!

Chapter 2

My Earliest Years

A few days before my birth, my grandfather paid a visit to a local lama. He was insistent that his forthcoming grandchild was going to be a girl. "I feel it in my bones," he declared. "She is going to be someone. Please help me find a name for a very special girl who is going to be a very special woman." A few prayers and many hours of astrological consultation later the name Sonam Tsomo was decided on, Sonam meaning "fertility," Tsomo for the great goddess of longevity.

—Reprinted from Dalai Lama, My Son by Diki Tsering by permission of Viking Pub., a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright (c) 2000 by Diki Tsering. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

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