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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 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.
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LibraryThing Review Linda Barnes is one of my fave mystery authors. Another riveting read!
LibraryThing Review I had forgotten all about this series when I picked this up I read the first few to like 4 or 5 and then just stopped having an interest in them. This was a good story in the private eye Carlotta’s
LibraryThing Review This was an incredibly transformative book. Ian baker describes 20 years of trying to find a mythic place in the Himalayas known only through centuries old sacred texts. I picked this book up in
LibraryThing Review Haunting. Not because it is the best example of travel writing. It isn’t. Not because it engenders a deeper understanding of Tibetan Buddhism or the author’s spiritual quest. All in all I would say
LibraryThing Review Some interesting content, but the writing is often tedious to suffer though, with far too many quotes, tangents, and names to make a coherent story. He’s also a bit hypocritical in his condemnation of
LibraryThing Review Leeches, cliffs, jungle, dead ends, porters who quit, food running out–repeat as necessary while convincing self, if not reader, that the quest is spiritual. Penetrate to a previously hidden area, then complain that others will follow.
Sacred Koyasan: A Pilgrimage to the Mountain Temple of Saint Kobo Daishi and the Great Sun Buddha
For more than one thousand years the vast Buddhist monastery and temple complex on remote Mount Kōya has been one of Japan s most important religious centers Saint Kōbō Daishi also known as Kūkai founder of the esoteric Shingon school and one of the great figures of world Buddhism consecrated the mountain for holy purposes in the early 800s Buried on Kōyasan Kōbō Daishi is said to be still alive selflessly advocating for the salvation of all sentient beings Located south of Osaka Kōyasan has attracted visitors from every station of Japanese life and in recent years more than a million tourists and pilgrims visit annually In Sacred Kōyasan the first book length study in English of this holy Buddhist mountain Philip L Nicoloff invites readers to accompany him on a pilgrimage Together with the author the pilgrim reader ascends the mountain stays at a temple monastery and explores Kōyasan s main buildings sacred statues and famous forest cemetery Author and reader participate in the full annual cycle of rituals and ceremonies and explore the life and legend of Kōbō Daishi and the history of the mountain Written for both the scholarly and general reader Sacred Kōyasan will appeal to potential travelers dedicated armchair travelers and all readers interested in Buddhism and Japanese culture
Buddha or Bust: In Search of Truth, Meaning, Happiness, and the Man Who Found Them All
Why does an idea that s 2 500 years old seem more relevant today than ever before How can the Buddha s teachings help us solve many of the world s problems Journalist Perry Garfinkel circumnavigated the globe to discover the heart of Buddhism and the reasons for its growing popularity and ended up discovering himself in the process The assignment from National Geographic couldn t have come at a better time for Garfinkel Burned out laid up with back problems disillusioned by relationships and religion itself he was still hoping for that big journalistic break and the answers to life s biggest riddles as well So he set out on a geographic historical and personal expedition that would lead him around the world in search of those answers and then some First to better understand the man who was born Prince Siddhartha Gautama he followed the time honored pilgrimage in the footsteps of the Buddha in India From there he tracked the historical course of Buddhism to Sri Lanka Thailand China Tibet Japan and on to San Francisco and Europe He found that the Buddha s teachings have spawned a worldwide movement of engaged Buddhism the application of Buddhist principles to resolve social environmental health political and other contemporary problems From East to West and back to the East again this movement has caused a Buddhism Boom Along the way he met a diverse array of Buddhist practitioners Thai artists Indian nuns Sri Lankan school children Zen archers in Japan kung fu monks in China and the world s first Buddhist comic only in America Among dozens of Buddhist scholars and leaders Garfinkel interviewed His Holiness the Dalai Lama an experience that left him speechless almost As just reward for his efforts toward the end of his journey Garfinkel fell in love in the south of France at the retreat center of a leader of the engaged movement the Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh a romance that taught him as much about Buddhism as all the masters combined In this original entertaining book Garfinkel separates Buddhist fact from fiction sharing his humorous insights and keen perceptions about everything from spiritual tourism to Asian traffic jams to the endless road to enlightenment From the Hardcover edition
Running from Tenda Gyamar: A Volunteer’s Story of Life With the Refugee Children of Tibet
Leaving her job in London selling her home leaving family friends Lesley travelled to India to be a volunteer teacher in a vocational training centre in Northern India She learnt of the struggles Tibetan children endure escaping torture violence and oppression by the Chinese authorities in their homeland Tibet They witnessed the torture and murder of parents brothers and uncles They are educated in Tibetan schools in India many are orphans and destitute For 2 years Lesley lived with the Tibetan community in the VTC and then a mountain village Rajpur undertaking voluntary work and raising sponsorship to support the children s education In this book Lesley describes her own ups and downs of living with both Indian and Tibetan cultures and recounts the poignant stories of the children describing in their own words the suffering they escaped and what their hopes are for the future
Song of the Road: The Poetic Travel Journal of Tsarchen Losal Gyatso
In Song of the Road Tsarchen Losal Gyatso 1502 66 a tantric master of the Sakya tradition of Tibetan Buddhism weaves ecstatic poetry song and accounts of visionary experiences into a record of pilgrimage to central Tibet Translated for the first time here Tsarchen s work a favorite of the Fifth Dalai Lama brims with striking descriptions of encounters with the divine as well as lyrical portraits of Tibetan landscape The literary flights of Song of the Road are anchored by Tsarchen s candid observations on the social and political climate of his day including a rare example in Tibetan literature of open critique of religious power Like the Japanese master Basho s famous Narrow Road to the Interior written 150 years later Tsarchen s travelogue contains a mixture of luminous prose and verse rich with allusions Traveling on horseback with a band of companions Tsarchen visited some of the most renowned holy sites of the Tsang region incluing Jonang Tropu Ngor Shalu and Gyantse In his introduction and copious notes Cyrus Stearns unearths the layers of meaning concealed in the text excavating the history legends and lore associated with people and places encountered on the pilgrimage revealing the spiritual as well as geographical topography of Tsarchen s journey