The Heart of the World: A Journey to Tibet's Lost Paradise

The Heart of the World: A Journey to Tibet's Lost Paradise

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by Ian Baker, Dalai Lama
     
 

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The myth of Shangri-la originates in Tibetan Buddhist beliefs in beyul, or hidden lands, sacred sanctuaries that reveal themselves to devout pilgrims and in times of crisis. The more remote and inaccessible the beyul, the vaster its reputed qualities. Ancient Tibetan prophecies declare that the greatest of all hidden lands lies at the heart of the

Overview

The myth of Shangri-la originates in Tibetan Buddhist beliefs in beyul, or hidden lands, sacred sanctuaries that reveal themselves to devout pilgrims and in times of crisis. The more remote and inaccessible the beyul, the vaster its reputed qualities. Ancient Tibetan prophecies declare that the greatest of all hidden lands lies at the heart of the forbidding Tsangpo Gorge, deep in the Himalayas and veiled by a colossal waterfall. Nineteenth-century accounts of this fabled waterfall inspired a series of ill-fated European expeditions that ended prematurely in 1925 when the intrepid British plant collector Frank Kingdon-Ward penetrated all but a five-mile section of the Tsangpo’s innermost gorge and declared that the falls were no more than a “religious myth” and a “romance of geography.”

The heart of the Tsangpo Gorge remained a blank spot on the map of world exploration until world-class climber and Buddhist scholar Ian Baker delved into the legends. Whatever cryptic Tibetan scrolls or past explorers had said about the Tsangpo’s innermost gorge, Baker determined, could be verified only by exploring the uncharted five-mile gap. After several years of encountering sheer cliffs, maelstroms of impassable white water, and dense leech-infested jungles, on the last of a series of extraordinary expeditions, Baker and his National Geographic–sponsored team reached the depths of the Tsangpo Gorge. They made news worldwide by finding there a 108-foot-high waterfall, the legendary grail of Western explorers and Tibetan seekers alike.

The Heart of the World is one of the most captivating stories of exploration and discovery in recent memory—an extraordinary journey to one of the wildest and most inaccessible places on earth and a pilgrimage to the heart of the Tibetan Buddhist faith.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The Heart of the World is among the most complex, compelling and satisfying adventure books I have ever read.... Baker has written one for the ages." —The San Francisco Chronicle

"Up to its chin in physical adventure. Reading the book is itself a big, almost a transcendent, experience." —Adventure Magazine

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143036029
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/02/2006
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
544
Sales rank:
416,568
Product dimensions:
8.46(w) x 10.88(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
18 - 17 Years

Related Subjects

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"The Heart of the World is among the most complex, compelling and satisfying adventure books I have ever read.... Baker has written one for the ages." —The San Francisco Chronicle

"Up to its chin in physical adventure. Reading the book is itself a big, almost a transcendent, experience." —Adventure Magazine

Meet the Author

Ian Baker has lived in Kathmandu, Nepal, and been a student of Tibetan Buddhism for more than twenty years. He studied fine arts, literature, and comparative religion at Middlebury College, Oxford University, and Columbia University. He has written several books on Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism, including The Tibetan Art of Healing, Celestial Gallery, and The Dalai Lama’s Secret Temple: Tantric Wall Paintings from Tibet. He is also the coauthor of Tibet: Reflections from the Wheel of Life and has contributed articles to Explorers Journal and National Geographic magazine. He currently divides his time among New York, Thailand, and the Himalayas.

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The Heart of the World: A Journey to Tibet's Lost Paradise 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book several years ago and have only now rediscovered it after searching tirelessly. The reson i kept searching was the incredible impression this book left on me. Even though this falls outside my usual interests i found myself glued to to it, turning page after page well into the night. This is a must read for anyone who enjoys an epic journey from very relatable characters who provide an outsiders perspective on a deep and somewhat mysterious religion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
kevkw More than 1 year ago
Anyone interested in the mystical and incredible journeys of Ian and his fellows this is a must read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago