Author: Ardy Verhaegen
Publisher: D K Printworld
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8124602026
This book is an excellent introduction to the history of Tibet, a good overview of the current plight of Tibet and the current Dalai Lama's role in seeking relief for his oppressed and endangered people. It is clearly written and displays sound scholarship.
Starting with the spread of Buddhism and its introduction into Tibet, this book chronicles the development of that country's unique religious culture, the rise to prominence of the Dalai Lamas, and the role of the Dalai Lama institution within the social-political structures of Tibet and Asia.
From the fifteenth century on, the Dalai Lamas emerged as the pre-eminent spiritual and secular leaders of Tibet. In his foreword to this book Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama states that "Buddhism with its powerful central message of compassion … transformed Tibetans from the powerful warlike nation that dominated Central Asia in the seventh century to the more peaceful and religious people they are today." With China's continued occupation of Tibet threatening the 'very existence of a distinct Tibetan identity and culture' the Dalai Lama feels it his 'primary responsibility to take whatever steps I must to save my people and their unique heritage from total annihilation.'
Author Ardy Verhaegan not only' succinctly tells the story of each of the Dalai Lamas and their contributions as human beings to Tibet's destiny', as the Dalai Lama points out, but also the historical narrative within which these eminent personalities played out their lives.
Descriptions of the workings of the institution itself and the current struggles of Tibetan culture to survive outside its historical borders round out this volume.
Richly annotated, this introduction to the institution of the Dalai Lama is of value to both serious students of Tibetan history and culture and all those interested in one of the more fascinating stories of our times. The perilous flight of the Dalai Lama into exile and the subsequent success of the Tibetan Diaspora community against tremendous odds are having profound implications for humanity at large. Ironically, while imperiled within Tibet itself, the spiritual legacy of the land of snows has spread through its incarnate lamas and teachers such that the principles of peace, compassion and individual enlightenment inherent in Tibetan Buddhist culture and embodied in the Dalai Lama now enjoy favor worldwide. The awarding of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize to the Dalai Lama is indicative of this esteem, not only towards His Holiness but also the institution he represents.
COMMENTS AND OBSERVATIONS:
This book is an excellent introduction to the history of Tibet, a good overview of the current plight of Tibet and the current Dalai Lama's role in seeking relief for his oppressed and endangered people. It is clearly written and displays sound scholarship. I highly recommend this book.
=Robert A F Thurman, Ph.D., Tsong Khapa Professor of And-Tibetan Studies and Chair, Religious Department, Columbia University, author of Essential Tibetan Buddhism
What is a truly spiritual person like? Countless people, West and East will name His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. Only a few, however, will know anything about his thirteen predecessors and their role in history. Ardy Verhaegen's inspiring account fills this intellectual gap; but it does more. It points to an urgent task: Tibet must be preserved for the spiritual life of the world.
= Brother David Steindl-Rast, O.S.B., co-author with Robert Aitken Roshi of the Ground We Share
A very precious book that is much needed in shedding historical light on this increasingly important spiritual tradition that, through the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, is giving significant spiritual leadership in a very troubled, confused world. I see great longevity for this book
= Wayne Teasdale, author of The Mystic Heart
To have in one place the complete history of the Dalai Lama line in a popularly accessible form, is to have a resource for which in the interfaith world are rightly grateful.
= Beatrice Bureau, Ph.D., author of What We Can Learn from The East
A most readable text in a scholarly field due to the painstaking research and fine literary skills of the author, a classic in the area of Tibetan studies.
= James M Somerville, Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, Xavier University, Cincinnati, author of The Mystical Sense of the Gospels
Development in Tibet up to the Advent of the Dalai Lamas
A History of the Dalai Lamas within the Context of Their Times
How the Institution of the Dalai Lama Works
Tibetan Identity & Culture and the Dalai Lama Since 1959