Tibetan scholar Thurman paints a splendid portrait of the Dalai Lama and masterfully elucidates the 50-year-old conflict between Tibet and China in this timely analysis. The author presents an eloquent introduction to Buddhism and the Tibetan concept of the Dalai Lama before focusing on the current "living embodiment of the Buddha"a man born as Tenzin Gyatsothe 14th Dalai Lama. Thurman sympathetically renders his lifelong friend as a "simple Buddhist monk," a teacher, philosopher, scientist and the political representative of the Tibetan people, who has achieved renown for holding together a large refugee community and preserving its culture. Promulgating a "common human religion of kindness," the Nobel Peace laureate lobbies for a peaceful resolution to the question of Tibetan autonomy within China, while espousing love, altruism and spirituality as the forces that will lead mankind into a "kinder, happier twenty-first century." The book concludes with a five-step plan to broker peace between Tibet and Chinaan agenda simultaneously pragmatic and idealistic, demonstrating truly the talent and power of faith. (June)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Why the Dalai Lama Matters: His Act of Truth as the Solution for China, Tibet, and the Worldby Robert Thurman
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is an extraordinary example of a life dedicated to peace, communication, and unity. What he represents, and what he has accomplished, heals and transcends the current tensions between Tibet and China. Why the Dalai Lama Matters explores just why he has earned the world's love and respect, and how restoring Tibet's autonomy within China is not only possible, but highly reasonable, and absolutely necessary for all of us together to have a peaceful future as a global community.
In the few decades since the illegal Chinese invasion of Tibet, Tibetans have seen their ecosystem destroyed, their religion, language, and culture repressed, and systematic oppression and violence against anyone who dares acknowledge Tibetan sovereignty. Yet, above it all, the Dalai Lama has been a consistent voice for peace, sharing a "Middle-Way" approach that has gathered accolades from the Nobel Peace Prize to the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal.
Modeling this peaceful resistance shows the world that nobody is free unless everybody is free -- and that a solution exists that can benefi t all parties, not just one. And more than just his nation have taken notice. His inter-religious dialogues, honest, humble demeanor, and sense of compassionate justice sets him apart in a world at war with itself. When China changes policy and lets Tibetans be who they are, Tibet can, in turn, join with China in peaceful coexistence.
Why the Dalai Lama Matters is not merely a book about Tibet or the Dalai Lama. It is a revealing, provocative solution for a world in confl ict, dealing with the very fundamentals of human rights and freedoms. By showing the work that the Dalai Lama has done on behalf of his people, Thurman illuminates a worldwide call to action, showing that power gained by might means nothing in the face of a determined act of truth.
With Tibet in the headlines, libraries should be sure to keep an eye on the latest books on the struggles there. Both of these authors are well established in Tibetan studies as scholars and observers, and both take strong stands here against China's rhetoric and actions in Tibet. Smith (Tibetan service, Radio Free Asia) provides a thorough and specialized study of relations between the two entities over the last century. He argues that assimilation is China's goal for Tibet: Tibet is becoming more Chinese and less Tibetan, as demonstrated by the recent mass immigration of Chinese into Tibet and China's dominance of both the government and the economy. With as many as 80 footnotes per chapter, Smith's substantial, and rather pricey, book is an option for research libraries but heavy going for general readers.Thurman (Buddhist studies, Columbia Univ.; Inner Revolution), the American Buddhist monk ordained by the Dalai Lama over 40 years ago, reaches out to a broader audience. He covers some of the same ground more concisely and accessibly, delves more deeply into the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism, and adds some hopeful suggestions for finding a "middle way" in which the Dalai Lama's "ethical and spiritual revolution" can be accommodated along with China's determination to modernize Tibet, adjustments that would improve China's sagging stature in the international arena. Thurman also points out Tibet's pivotal environmental position in Asia and suggests that preserving its natural features would improve those of China because several of China's watercourses begin in Tibet. Thus, Thurman posits Tibet as both a spiritual and a natural reserve. Thurman's book is an excellent choicefor most public libraries.
Harold M. Otness
—Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness
"No one has worked harder to bring Tibet, Tibetan Buddhism, and the special power of the Dalai Lama to American audiences than Robert Thurman. Long may he write and, as in this latest work, bring learning and spirit, great vigor, and close knowledge together."
—Pico Iyer, author of The Open Road and Sun After Dark
"I could not put this book down. I found it powerfully inspiriting to imagine a positive alternative to the sixty-yearlong tragedy wrought by China in Tibet. As Robert Thurman shows us, by reversing its colonialist cultural genocide in Tibet (and so inspiring a reversal of the murderous policies of the regimes in Myanmar and Sudan), China could truly emerge as a responsible world power and take its place within the moral community of nations."
—Mia Farrow, actor, activist, and humanitarian
"This book kindles hope for Tibet, for China, and for peace. It listens deeply to the Dalai Lama, making clear what he offers and can accomplish. It vividly envisions the freedom the Tibetan people urgently need and the respect China desires from the entire world."
—Uma Karuna Thurman, actor, and activist
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Meet the Author
Robert Thurman is the author of the critically acclaimed, popular original books Inner Revolution and Infinite Life and a translator of sacred Tibetan texts, including The Essence of True Eloquence and The Tibetan Book of the Dead. He teaches at Columbia University and holds the first endowed chair in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies in America. Cofounder of Tibet House US and Menla Mountain Retreat Center, he lives in New York City and Woodstock, New York.
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