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Buddhadharma magazineRemarkable . . . ambitious . . . [van Schaik] writes like a storyteller, keeping his reader intrigued.—Michael Sheehy, Buddhadharma magazine
— Michael Sheehy
Situated north of the Himalayas, Tibet is famous for its unique culture and its controversial assimilation into modern China. Yet Tibet in the twenty-first century can only be properly understood in the context of its extraordinary history.
Sam van Schaik brings the history of Tibet to life by telling the stories of the people involved, from the glory days of the Tibetan empire in the seventh century through to the present day. He explores the emergence of Tibetan Buddhism and the rise of the Dalai Lamas, Tibet's entanglement in the "Great Game" in the early twentieth century, its submission to Chinese Communist rule in the 1950s, and the troubled times of recent decades.
Tibet sheds light on the country's complex relationship with China and explains often-misunderstood aspects of its culture, such as reborn lamas, monasteries and hermits, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, and the role of the Dalai Lama. Van Schaik works through the layers of history and myth to create a compelling narrative, one that offers readers a greater understanding of this important and controversial corner of the world.
— Michael Sheehy
List of Illustrations and Maps viii
Note On Pronouncing Tibetan Words xiii
1 Tibet Appears, 600-700 1
2 The Holy Buddhist Empire, 700-797 21
3 Keepers of the Flame, 797-1054 41
4 Patrons and Priests, 1054-1315 61
5 Golden Age, 1315-1543 85
6 The Rise and Fall of the Dalai Lamas, 1543-1757 114
7 The Balancing Act, 1757-1904 146
8 Independence, 1904-1950 180
9 Under the Red Flag, 1950-1959 207
10 Two Tibets, 1959 to the Present 238